The Chicago Cubs needed just four games to get through the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, and used just four starting pitchers to get there.
The Dodgers needed all five games, but managed to use just three starters to start, and four starters overall.
While that may have worked for LA in the shorter five-game series, they are not going to use just three different starters in the longer, potentially seven-game NLCS.
While we had a pretty solid understanding as to which starters each team was likely use, the relative order of those pitchers was much less easy to discern – especially for the Dodgers, who used each of Rich Hill, Julio Urias, and Clayton Kershaw in Game 5.
Well, the Cubs have announced their rotation, and it shakes out familiarly:
Joe says rotation officially Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta, Lackey for NLCS. #Cubs
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) October 14, 2016
So, there’s not many surprises there, as the Cubs’ rotation lines up exactly like it did in the NLDS. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks will go at home, while Jake Arrieta and John Lackey get their starts on the road. The only other notable bit is that Hendricks pitching second is a good sign for his health and readiness to start. The Cubs could have easily given him an extra day or two, but he’ll go right on time.
But who will he go against?
The Dodgers have announced that Kenta Maeda will start Game 1 at Wrigley Field, but their rotation beyond that remains a mystery. Most strongly suspect that Clayton Kershaw will get the ball in Game 2, even after throwing over 200 pitches in the five-game NLDS, but manager Dave Roberts refused to reveal his hand.
Dave Roberts said, without officially saying it, that Clayton Kershaw will start Game 2.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) October 14, 2016
After that, you can expect some combination of Rich Hill and Julio Urias to start in Games 3 and 4, respectively. The Dodgers are expected to reveal their full rotation tomorrow – which is unusual, but then again they played an unusual five-game set.
Check out the NLCS Series Preview for more on each pitching staff, and keep an eye out for individual pitching profiles on each of the Dodgers’ starters in the coming days.