(CBS) To outlast the Nationals in a tense National League Division Series that went the distance, the Cubs had to use their top four starting pitchers over the course of grueling games Wednesday and Thursday.
So after a thrilling, nail-biting 9-8 win in Game 5, the Cubs weren’t sure who they’d turn to against the Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday evening. The Cubs started right-hander Jake Arrieta in Game 4 on Wednesday and then used left-hander Jon Lester for 3 2/3 innings in relief.
In Game 5, right-hander Kyle Hendricks lasted four innings. Left-hander Jose Quintana came on in relief and got two outs, throwing 12 pitches.
That left a long plane ride across to country for the Cubs to decide whether to turn to Quintana or No. 5 starter John Lackey, who was on the NLDS roster but didn’t make an appearance.
“We haven’t even talked about that yet,” manager Joe Maddon said, adding Lackey is “definitely in the mix, no question.”
Quintana threw 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in Game 3 of the NLDS before he brief scoreless relief outing. Amid a postgame celebration after Game 5, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein brought up Quintana’s name when asked who would start.
“We’ll talk to Q,” Epstein said. “He’s a candidate. It wasn’t much more than a side (session) today. We’ll see. If he’s feeling good, he might be a candidate. We’ll figure it out on the plane before we start drinking.”