The Cubs announced their rotation for the first two games of the National League Championship Series Thursday, lining up Jon Lester for Game 1 and Jake Arrieta for Game 2.
With the NLCS opener on Saturday in New York, it would be exactly five days in between starts for Arrieta, who started Monday against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
But the Cubs aren't going to push their ace, instead opting to keep Lester's turn in the rotation as is.
"It's nice giving Jake an extra day," manager Joe Maddon said. "Really, part of the strategy was to not pitch Jon [in Game 4 of the NLDS] so he was ready for the fifth game or to come into the first game of the next round.
"It kind of played out well, so that's how we're going to set it up in the beginning. I'm really comfortable. They'll both be starters in two games [this series], possibly. That's what we're most comfortable with."
By the time Game 1 comes around, Lester will have had seven days off in between starts after he got the ball in the NLDS opener in St. Louis last Friday.
Arrieta is in prime physical shape and even though he actually looked human against the Cardinals, he's still been the best pitcher on the planet for the last few months.
So does Arrieta really need the extra day of rest?
"He'll probably tell you he would not, but I like the idea that he has it," Maddon said. "We've been pushing him pretty hard. His innings are way up compared to where they've been in the past.
"This postseason, I've talked about it before - it's beyond the physical drain, it's the emotional drain. He went through a really difficult moment [in the wild-card game] in Pittsburgh that night and he set this whole thing up for us.
"Any time you can give a guy both an emotional and a physical break, you take advantage of that right now."
Maddon didn't release the rest of the rotation beyond Game 2, but he did admit the Cubs would probably use four starters, meaning Kyle Hendricks could be in line for Game 3 back at Wrigley Field and Jason Hammel (who lasted just three innings in Game 4 of the NLDS Tuesday) could get the ball in Game 4 of the NLCS.
Beyond that, Maddon also admitted they have had discussions about how the entire NLCS plays out. If the series goes to seven games, the Cubs hope Lester and Arrieta would be able to take the ball once more each (think Games 5 and 6) as a starter, and Maddon didn't rule out either being available out of the bullpen if necessary.
"Of course they would be, but if your regular relief pitchers are ready, I'm good with those guys," Maddon said. "Our relief pitchers have pitched really well. I'm not opposed to using a starter in that moment. Not at all.
"But that would be the fact that the other guys are unavailable or maybe overworked, something to that extent. It's different to come out of the bullpen. I've done it before; I'm not afraid to do it. But I'd rather use the other guys first."
The Mets (Jacob deGrom) were forced to use their top starter for Game 5 of the NLDS, meaning he would probably not be available until Game 3 of the NLCS.
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The Cubs, meanwhile, have plenty of time to rest and are grateful they didn't have to make the trip to St. Louis or use Lester in a Game 5.
After all, giving him the ball in Game 1 of a crucial playoff series is what they signed him for.
"Jon Lester in a big game is always tasty," Maddon said. "You'll always take that. I have no problem with any of that.
"I really expect well. I know he's very confident. I think this little extra rest is going to help, too."