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MLB Playoffs 2017: Cubs announce rotation for NLDS, Kyle Hendricks in Game 1

This is who I would have chosen.

Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

The Cubs will wait until Friday to finalize their roster for the division series against the Nationals, but Wednesday Joe Maddon announced the starting rotation for the first three games against the Nationals, and it’s Kyle Hendricks going in Game 1. Here’s the rest of the rotation, via Paul Skrbina in the Tribune:

Manager Joe Maddon announced Wednesday that Hendricks, who started Game 7 of the World Series in November, will start Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday against the Nationals in Washington.

Jon Lester will start Game 2 on Saturday, while Jose Quintana will start Game 3 on Monday when the series comes to Wrigley Field.

I might have gone with Quintana in Game 2 and Lester in Game 3, but in either case the lefty-heavy Nats will have to face two consecutive lefthanded starters. Meanwhile, Hendricks has been the Cubs’ best and most consistent starter since he came back from a finger injury in late July. Since his return: 2.19 ERA and 1.179 WHIP in 13 starts covering 78 innings. That’s also an average of exactly six innings per start, which is good, and even better when you consider that the first of those 13 went just 4⅓ innings and he threw only five innings in a postseason tuneup last Thursday. Of the 13 starts, Kyle went at least six in 10 of them.

Missing from this, obviously, is Jake Arrieta. Skrbina’s article says he’d start Game 4, if it’s necessary. That game would happen next Tuesday, which gives Jake six more days to rest and recuperate from last month’s hamstring injury.

John Lackey is likely to be on the postseason roster, ready to step in as a reliever.

The Nationals are expected to announce their rotation either later Wednesday or sometime Thursday.