CHICAGO – There wasn’t much of a surprise when the name of the Cubs’ first starter in the National League Championship Series was announced.
But Joe Maddon isn’t ready to commit to who will throw Sunday night in Game 2.
On Thursday the Cubs’ manager confirmed that Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field on Saturday at 7:08 PM against either the Dodgers or the Nationals. At the same time, however, Maddon wouldn’t say who would start Game 2 on Sunday but did indicate that he was leaning towards Kyle Hendricks to once again get the nod in that contest.
“Just find out where Kyle is, just making sure that he’s healthy,” said Maddon, who said Hendricks threw today during a workout at Wrigley Field. “You always wait a little bit to see if there is any after effect of that and then you make the determination.”
Maddon’s hesitation might be due to Hendricks’ take a line drive off the forearm during Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Giants. It forced the pitcher to leave the game after 3 2/3 innings as a precaution. The manager also didn’t announce how the rotation would play out for the rest of the series.
Lester is an obvious choice for Maddon after his strong performance in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants. He pitched eight shutout innings at Wrigley Field and allowed just five hits while striking out five. The performance was necessary due to the strength of San Francisco pitcher Johnny Cueto’s outing but a Javier Baez home run in the 8th inning gave the Cubs a 1-0 win.