(CBS) As the Cubs continue to debate how to configure their pitching rotation against the Nationals in the National League Division Series, general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged that recent form is a crucial factor.
That would hint at right-hander Kyle Hendricks and left-hander Jose Quintana throwing the first two games against in Washington D.C. Game 1 is next Friday, and manager Joe Maddon has already all but ruled out right-hander Jake Arrieta from pitching in the first two games as he recovers from a hamstring strain. Left-hander Jon Lester also hasn’t been in top form and dealt with shoulder fatigue in August.
“That’s a fairly important factor,” Hoyer said of recent form in an interview with Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel and 670 The Score on Friday. “I think when you think about it, like I said, we’ve got a group of guys that could all start Game 1. I think when you look at what these guys have done, I thought Quintana’s performance against the Brewers on Sunday was unbelievable in a big spot. Kyle Hendricks, incredible, a guy who started Game 6 (of the NLCS) last year, was one of the best pitching performances I’ve seen. He started Game 7 of the World Series and threw well. And obviously, Lester and Arrieta have pitched Game 1 in the past.
“How you’re pitching now does have to be a factor, thinking about the last month or two of the season.”
Hoyer called a pitcher’s past history against a foe “a middle factor, not huge” in deciding a playoff rotation. He also added the Cubs trust the makeup and character of all their starters to handle a big start.
As for how the tough decisions on the fringe of the roster are made? There are many factors there too.
“When you get down to those 23, 24, 25th guys, you’re trying to think about different games situations, maybe even look at the opponent and think about what their bullpen looks like or what things their manager might do,” Hoyer said.