The Chicago Cubs will find out who they are playing in the National League Championship Series on Thursday night, but regardless of the opponent, they know who is starting the game. Manager Joe Maddon officially announced Jon Lester as the Game 1 starter for Saturday’s game. The decision is no surprise as Lester was lined up for the start as soon as the Cubs clinched a spot. The move comes just hours before Thursday’s Game 5 of the NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals who are in a do-or-die situation. In Lester’s previous start he threw eight shutout innings in Game 1 of the NLDS, beating Johnny Cueto 1-0. Lester was fantastic over those eight innings.
“We all know what time of year this is and what we’re playing for,” Lester said. “The preparation and the mindset remain the same, but when you’re out there, you know what you’re playing for. I think we all know that and I think the biggest thing is just being able to harness that, not run from that.”
As for Game 2? The next guy in line would be Kyle Hendricks, as he started Game 2 of the NLDS, but he took a line drive off his pitching arm and had to leave the game. His arm was bruised and swollen from the line drive. Hendricks said he “feels great” and even threw a bullpen session on Thursday. The Cubs will evaluate him again and announce the decision in the coming days. Maddon is reportedly heavily leaning on starting Hendricks in Game 2.