The Chicago Cubs have been relatively aggressive this year in using off-days to reconfigure the rotation for the purposes of maximizing upcoming match-ups, and I’m a big fan. It probably doesn’t give them a huge edge in the aggregated long run, but even a 1% or 2% bump could mean an extra win or two by the end of the year. Why not take everything you can get?
The latest rotation switcharoo has Jon Lester flip-flopping with Jose Quintana (Gonzales), which will allow Quintana to be the one Cubs starter who will face both the Cardinals in the next series, and then the Brewers series after the intervening four-game White Sox series.
Given the competitive NL Central – the Cubs are now just 2.5 games behind the Brewers, and 2.0 games ahead of the Cardinals – getting Quintana going against both the Brewers and Cardinals (who are also less familiar with him) is the right move.
Added bonus? Although the Brewers are split neutral as a team (98 wRC+ versus lefties, 97 wRC+ versus righties), the Cardinals are much worse against lefties (88 wRC+) than righties (98 wRC+). The Cardinals will get both Quintana and Jon Lester.