ST. LOUIS - Kyle Hendricks was listed on the Cubs' 25-man roster for the one-game wild-card for a reason.
Joe Maddon and the Cubs are giving Hendricks the ball against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the National League Division Series Saturday.
Maddon also said veteran Jason Hammel - who was seen as the Cubs' "No. 3" starter to begin the season - could be in line to start Game 4 back at Wrigley Field (Jake Arrieta goes Game 3 Monday in Chicago).
Jon Lester is getting the start in Game 1 Friday, but if the Cubs are going to keep this magical season going, they're going to need somebody to step up in the rotation beyond the $155 million free agent and Arrieta. Is Hendricks up to the task?
"You saw the last couple games, Kyle's been really sharp," Maddon said. "The fact that he could put the ball on the ground matters a lot, too. Keep the ball out of the air.
"He's just been very sharp, so we just chose to do that."
Hendricks has been sharp, rattling off three straight quality starts to end the season, striking out 25 batters in 18 innings.
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Of course, two of those starts came against the Milwaukee Brewers, who were well out of contention, but Hendricks also tossed six shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals in the regular season finale at Wrigley Field Sept. 28, striking out nine and allowing just four baserunners (two hits and two walks).
Hammel, on the other hand, has just two quality starts in his last 14 tries since being forced to leave the game early in his July 8 start with a hamstring issue. In that span, Hammel has put up a 5.10 ERA and allowed an .856 OPS to opposing hitters.
Maddon reiterated Arrieta would be ready to roll for Game 3 Monday after throwing 113 pitches in a complete-game shutout Wednesday night.
But the Cubs skipper did say Hammel would be available out of the bullpen in the first three games.
"If we don't use Jason Hammel before that, you probably will see him in Game 4," Maddon said. "But if we need him sooner than that, you'll see him sooner than that and then we'll just have to make and adjustment for Game 4."