Kyle Hendricks will get the ball when the Cubs open the NLDS against the Washington Nationals on Friday.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon announced Wednesday that Hendricks will be the team's Game 1 starter. Jon Lester will start Game 2, Jose Quintana will start Game 3, and should it be necessary, Jake Arrieta will pitch Game 4.
Hendricks certainly earned the honor of being the first starting pitcher out of the gate for the Cubs this postseason. He led the starting staff with a 3.03 ERA during the regular season and was especially fantastic after returning from the disabled list, posting a 2.19 ERA in his last 13 starts.
Remember, too, the work Hendricks did last postseason en route to that curse-smashing World Series win. He threw 7.1 shutout innings opposite Clayton Kershaw in Game 6 of the NLCS, a win that won the Cubs their first NL pennant since 1945. Hendricks also got the start in Game 7 of the World Series.
Lester boasts a remarkable career's worth of postseason experience, a three-time World Series champion, but his numbers have not been up to his usual dazzling standards this season. He's got a 4.33 ERA, his highest since 2012.
Quintana, acquired in a midseason blockbuster trade with the White Sox, has been strong for the Cubs down the stretch. He had a 2.52 ERA in five September starts.
Arrieta is dealing with a hamstring injury that required him to miss his final start of the regular season. He has a 3.53 ERA on the season and was especially good over the season's final three months, posting a 2.26 ERA in his last 14 starts.
The Nationals counter with their own formidable starting staff that features reigning NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, along with Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.