After announcing Jon Lester as the Opening Day starter yesterday, the Chicago Cubs followed today by announcing that, yes, the regular season rotation will follow the rotation as it has been laid out this Spring.
After Lester, the Cubs will go Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana, and Tyler Chatwood.
For planning purposes, setting the rotation really matters only in that first couple weeks of the season, because after that, with off-days and bumps and bruises, things get shifted around and you wind up having to re-plan in order to get the match-ups you want down the road.
So how does this group line up for various games in the early going?
With Lester going in the opener against the Marlins, he also then lines up to take the home opener on April 9 against the Pirates. The front four would all go in that Marlins series, with Chatwood taking the first game in Cincinnati in the second series of the year. Lester gets game two in that two-game set.
Lester then would miss the entire first Brewers series of the year, a four-gamer in which everyone else would make a start. If the rotation is still holding for a week after that, Lester would also miss the first Cardinals series of the year (April 16-19), which would instead be Hendricks, Darvish, Quintana (not too shabby). That would leave Chatwood to open up the following series in Colorado – sorry, dude, you just can’t escape that place.
There, we’re at April 21, and I’d bet dollars to donuts the strict five-man order has broken up or shifted around in some way by then.