#Cubs to go with Lester, Arrieta in NLCS Games 1-2

Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday for the Cubs, and be followed by Jake Arrieta in Game 2, manager Joe Maddon said Thursday.

“Jon Lester in a big game is always tasty,” Maddon said of the left-hander, who has a career 6-5 record and 2.66 ERA in 15 posteason games. “You’ll always take that. I have no problem with that. I know he’s very confident. I think the extra rest will help, too.”

Arrieta threw a complete game shutout against the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game, and started Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Cardinals on Monday, giving up four runs over 5 2/3 innings. Lester pitched last Friday in Game 1 of the NLDS, and was scheduled to go in Game 5 if necessary. The Cubs beat the Cardinals in four games to clinch the NLDS.

“It’s nice giving Jake an extra day,” Maddon said of the right-hander. “I’m really comfortable with them being starters in two games [in the series].”

Arrieta has posted career highs in innings pitched this season en route to a 22-6 record and 1.77 ERA.

“He’ll probably tell you he does not [need the rest], but I like the idea he gets it,” Maddon said. “I think we’ve been pushing him pretty hard. His innings are way up compared to what they’ve been in the past.”

Arrieta admitted that his heart rate was pumping at an accelerated pace on Monday, and said he’ll adjust his pregame routine accordingly.

“The biggest thing is trying to conserve energy when you can,” Arrieta said. “The biggest part of that is early in the day. Try to sleep in as late as you can, try to relax, and try to keep your mind off certain things early in the day. Everyone knows once you get to the park, that adrenaline and that energy is just going to continue to flow.”

The Cubs were expected to go with four starters in the NLCS, so Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks would join Lester and Arrieta, but Maddon wasn’t ready to reveal the rotation order.

“We have not finalized anything,” Maddon said. “Possibly who we’re playing will impact that decision, too.”

— Carrie Muskat

7 Comments

I think it’s the wise choice. The Cubs have plenty of rest. http://bit.ly/1GewvTe

Aloha Folks, this makes sense. I hope both Lester and Arrieta can go long in their starts. Carrie, any word on Russell? Will he be able to play in this next series? Thank you as always. Mahalo!

Aloha Carrie, just saw your story on Addison. I hope he heals well and that he has an opportunity to play in another series that could be around the corner! Mahalo!

Pingback: The Daily CCO: It’s the Cubs and Mets in the National League Championship Series - Chicago Cubs Online

Darryl Strawberry was interviewed on CNN this morn about the Lamar Odom matter and drugs. At one point the interviewer, Chris Cuomo, asked Darryl if he had a take on the upcoming Mets/Cubs series. To my astonishment, Strawberry said he does not follow baseball these days, and does not even like the game. Wow! This from a guy I was at Wrigley Field in 1985, and saw clout three dingers in the same game for the Mets. I`m utterly baffled by his comment.

Why are you baffled by Strawberry not following baseball anymore? Players aren’t always like fans, following as much of it as they can from the age of 5 to 85. Some players do stick around the game after their careers are over and coach or broadcast, but others make a clean break when they’re done and are done with the game, period. Plus Strawberry had a son who played college basketball and I think he’s now a pro in Europe, so maybe instead of following baseball closely in his post-playing years, he spent his time following his son’s career and doing what he could do to support him and help him reach the pros in his sport? Either way, just because a players plays a sport, it doesn’t mean that he will continue to follow the sport and be a fan of the sport after his playing career is over, no matter how much he might have excelled at the sport.

Those arguments may very well apply. I have another reason why Darryl may have left baseball in his rear view mirror. His brain is fried from all the drugs he ingested. Also, perhaps Darryl is like Jeff Kent. Kent never liked the game, even when he was active and indeed excelled at playing baseball. To him, it was just a job.

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