Cubs to begin the season with a starting five of Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Brett Anderson and Kyle Hendricks
Joe Maddon announced his starting rotation on Thursday. And the Cubs have decided to begin the season with a starting five of LHP Jon Lester, RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP John Lackey, LHP Brett Anderson and RHP Kyle Hendricks.
The Cubs will have last season’s ERA champ as the fifth starter in the rotation to begin the year. The Cubs like the matchups the schedule presents for Kyle Hendricks and have decided that is the best spot for him and the team to begin the season.
It comes as no surprise that Mike Montgomery will begin the year in the bullpen as the Cubs’ swingman. Montgomery figures to see time in the rotation when the Cubs use a sixth starter. The trick for Maddon and Chris Bosio will be to keep Montgomery stretched out. Montgomery is out of options and cannot be sent to the minors to be stretched back out if the Cubs wait too long to use him in a starting role.
Other reasons for Hendricks being in the fifth spot, and not the third, is the Cubs want to make sure Lester and Anderson are not following each other in the rotation. The Cubs want to split up the lefties and like the idea of Lackey starting the third game of the season against the Cardinals.
With Anderson in the rotation and Montgomery in the pen, all signs point to the Cubs beginning the season with a five-man rotation and eight relievers, a total of 13 pitchers. Unless something happens injury wise between now and Opening Night in St. Louis, the Cubs should begin the season with the following 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster:
- Rotation: Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Brett Anderson, Kyle Hendricks
- Bullpen: Mike Montgomery, Brian Duensing, Justin Grimm, Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon, Koji Uehara, Pedro Strop, Wade Davis
Rule 5 pickup, lefty Caleb Smith is believed to be a longshot at best of making the team out of Spring Training. The Cubs will have to offer him back to the Yankees for half of the $100,000 drafting fee.
The Cubs have set the rotation up where Lester will start on Opening Night and Arrieta will get the ball for the home opener at Wrigley Field against the Dodgers on April 10.