Before the Cubs-Cardinals game was postponed because of additional positive tests of COVID-19, the rotation was set to continue on as normal, with Jon Lester, Alec Mills, and Kyle Hendricks scheduled to start before the off-day, Monday. But with an opportunity, however unfortunate, to switch up the order, the Cubs have made some adjustments.
Starting Tuesday, the Cubs new rotation order will go Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood, Alec Mills.
This pairs Hendricks and Lester – the two Game 7 guys – against the Indians in Cleveland this week (that’s fun), while setting up Darvish, Chatwood, Mills, and Lester again against Milwaukee next weekend.
Among the advantages of this new alignment, you’ll find that the Cubs have broken up the back-to-back of Mills and Hendricks, two pitchers with a very similar look and game-plan, as well as ensuring that Yu Darvish will get Milwaukee, whom he’s handled well, while Kyle Hendricks won’t (they’ve actually gotten to him over the last three years: 4.18 ERA against MIL in 2017, 3.91 in 2018, 4.00 in 2019). By contrast, this setup forces Hendricks to pitch on the road, not at home, where his numbers have been far better. There’s also the fact that the Brewers have been quite a bit better against lefties (95 wRC+) than righties (75 wRC+) this season, though they’ll get Lester instead of Hendricks, by way of who got the first game back.