The Cubs will go to left-hander Jose Quintana for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, the club announced Saturday. John Lackey was also rumored to get the ball for Game 1, as Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta are still recovering from increased workloads in the Division Series. Manager Joe Maddon evidently saw something he liked in the lefty’s postseason debut last Monday, though he told reporters he expects it will be “incredibly difficult” to get a 2-0 head start in the series.
Quintana, 28, posted a 3.74 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 10.5 SO/9 in 84 1/3 innings with the Cubs following a midseason trade from the White Sox. He doesn’t have Lackey’s extensive playoff experience, but shone in his first postseason start during Game 3 of the NLDS, striking out seven batters and holding the Nationals to two hits and a run over 5 2/3 innings. He returned in Game 5 to pitch part of a scoreless seventh inning and earned a hold in the club’s 9-8 finish.
The Dodgers are scheduled to host the Cubs for Game 1 at 8:00 PM ET on Saturday. Fellow left-hander Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the Dodgers following his Game 1 performance in the NLDS, during which he clinched his fifth career postseason win with 6 1/3 innings of four-run, seven-strikeout ball against the Diamondbacks.