The Cubs don't have the rest of their rotation set for the National League Championship Series, but the choice for Game 1 is easy: Jon Lester.
Joe Maddon confirmed as much Thursday afternoon during the Cubs' workout, but the team still isn't sure of Kyle Hendricks' status after taking a line drive to the right forearm in Game 2 last Saturday.
"I know that Jon Lester is going to pitch the first game," Maddon said. "After that, we're waiting to find out about Kyle and then we'll go from there."
Hendricks declared himself "good to go" before Tuesday's Game 4 in San Francisco.
Maddon said Hendricks was "in good shape" after Tuesday's session and the Cy Young candidate also threw Thursday.
"[We'll] just find out where Kyle is," Maddon said. "Making sure that he is healthy. He threw today; you always wait a little bit to find out if there's any after-effects of that and then you make your determination. That's about it. Just health."
Maddon admitted the Cubs still like the idea of having Lester and Hendricks start the first two games at Wrigley Field, where both have performed at an elite level this season.
So if Hendricks doesn't have a setback, expect the Cubs to announce him as the Game 2 starter Sunday night at Wrigley Field, where he posted a 1.32 ERA and 0.86 WHIP during the regular season (compared to 2.95/1.099 on the road).
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Lester tossed eight shutout innings to beat the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS, lowering his career postseason ERA to 2.63 in 17 games (15 starts).
Before he was knocked out of Game 2, Hendricks had allowed two runs on four hits while getting 14 outs (seven groundballs, seven fly balls).
If Hendricks is good to go, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey would then fill out the rest of the rotation, starting Games 3 and 4 on the road in either Los Angeles or Washington D.C.
Arrieta provided a huge lift with a three-run homer off Madison Bumgarner in his start against the Giants in Game 3, but also turned in a quality outing on the mound - two runs on six hits and a walk in six innings.
Lackey, meanwhile, struggled to the tune of three runs on seven hits and two walks in only four innings before the Cubs' miraculous comeback in Game 4.
Maddon sees more in there for the Cubs rotation, especially Lackey, who hadn't pitched in two full weeks before the NLDS start.
"Jon Lester pitched his game, Jake was really good, Kyle never got his opportunity and you could say [Lackey] was off, but I thought John's stuff was good," Maddon said. "I look at the [radar] gun al lthe time, see how the fastball and stuff match up, and the numbers were good.
"The breaking ball numbers were good. My point is he's healthy and he's well and he just didn't execute, probably because he hasn't pitched in a while. But I felt good that the numbers match up - velocity, fastball to breaking ball, all that was there.
"I have a lot of faith in our guys. They've been doing it all year. They're absolutely rested going into this moment, so I feel very strongly about our starting pitching."