Jon Lester tabbed to start Game 1 of National League Championship Series
Joe Maddon made it official Thursday during the team’s voluntary workout at Wrigley Field. Jon Lester will be on the hill for the Cubs on Saturday night when the National League Championship Series begins at Wrigley Field.
Lester started the opener of the NLDS against the Giants and pitched eight innings of shutout ball. Lester settled in with help from David Ross and hung zeros on the board before turning the game over to Aroldis Chapman. The Cubs won 1-0 with Javier Baez providing the lone run, a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth off Johnny Cueto.
Maddon was not ready to announce the Cubs rotation for the NLCS. As long as Hendricks’ bullpen went as expected Thursday, Kyle Hendricks will start Game 2. Jake Arrieta and John Lackey are expected to follow Lester and Hendricks for games three and four.
The Cubs have not ruled out pushing Hendricks to Game 3 to give his forearm two more days to heal. If Hendricks is moved back, Jake Arrieta will start Game 2.
Lester started two games against the Dodgers this season. Lester missed the Nationals this year. He did not face the Nats in either the series at Wrigley or Nationals Park.
Lester was 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA and 0.60 WHIP in the two starts versus the Dodgers. Lester allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and 16 strikeouts in 15 innings. The Dodgers did not score a single run over the last 14 innings against Lester. Lester tossed a complete game against the Dodgers at Wrigley. The only run the Dodgers scored was a leadoff homer by Kike Hernandez at Wrigley on June 1.
Lester has faced the Nationals only one time in his two seasons with the Cubs. Lester was 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Lester allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts on May 27, 2015 at Wrigley. Lester lost 3-0 to Max Scherzer.
The Nationals were 20-14 in games started by left-handers this season. The Dodgers were 22-24 versus left-handers. The Nationals hit .259/.328/.455 with a .783 OPS against southpaws. The Dodgers were the worst team in all of baseball against lefties. The Dodgers had a .623 OPS while hitting .214/.291/.333.