Yu Darvish is the Cubs best chance at winning their second Cy Young award since 2015, but nobody pitches better at Wrigley Field than Kyle Hendricks.
And so the Cubs 2020 Opening Day starter will also get the ball in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Round playoffs against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field:
Cubs make it official. Kyle Hendricks to start Game 1. Yu Darvish Game 2.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) September 29, 2020
Frankly, Ross couldn’t have gone wrong here – he later admitted that he feels like he has “two aces” – so I can’t argue with the choice (and obviously that’s especially true because both guys will go, at the same ballpark against the same team, no matter what). This isn’t a five or seven-game series where the first guy might go twice or more, so it’s not a huge deal.
Either way, I like it.
For his career, Hendricks has a 2.54 ERA at Wrigley Field over 537.2 IP. During that time opposing batters have hit just .227/.274/.339 off Hendricks, striking out 21.9% of the time and walking just 5.0%. This season, that Wrigley Field ERA is still an extremely impressive 2.80, while opposing batters are slashing .195/.214/.279 with a 21.4% strikeout rate and a … get this: 1.9% walk rate.
Meanwhile, Yu Darvish has a 2.57 ERA at Wrigley Field this year, but batters are hitting him a fair bit better: .212/.255/.346. Obviously, that’s still insanely impressive and the Cubs couldn’t ask for two better arms than Darvish and Hendricks to go against a Marlins team that struggles against righties.
UPDATE: And as expected, Jon Lester will get the ball in Game 3, if there is one.
Ross confirms that if there is a Game 3, Jon Lester will get the start.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) September 29, 2020