SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Last week it was revealed that the pitchers generally accepted to be the first four in the Cubs’ rotation (Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey) wouldn’t pitch during the first week of games.
Wednesday we learned who will start those games:
#Cubs starters for upcoming games: Sat, Montgomery vs A's, Zastryzny vs SF; Buchanan on Sun; Anderson on Mon— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 22, 2017
Saturday, of course, is a split-squad affair, so you’ll probably see those two go a couple of innings each and then six or seven relievers, so that there will be a lot of guys getting work that day. I’m actually quite interested in Jake Buchanan, who threw very well against the Reds in the final week of the regular season in 2016. He’ll be in the rotation at Triple-A Iowa and could be a candidate for the Cubs rotation in 2018.
Mike Montgomery and Brett Anderson are supposed to battle it out for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, while Rob Zastrzyny is ticketed for the Iowa rotation.
As of today the weather forecast for Monday is iffy with a chance of showers, so that could force Joe to adjust his pitching lineup beyond that day. It’s still not clear when Lester, Arrieta, Hendricks and Lackey will make their first starts of the spring, but remember we aren’t even into March until next Wednesday, and those guys didn’t pitch the first week of camp last year when spring games started on March 3. It wouldn’t surprise me if the top four guys didn’t get into games at all until a week from this weekend.
Lastly, though it hasn’t been said specifically, I’d be surprised if anyone but Lester got the ball on April 2 in St. Louis.