The expanded playoff format this year has made starting pitching more important than ever.
The Wild Card Series is three games instead of one, and there are no byes to the NLDS. So, teams will need at least two dominant starting pitchers to give them the best chance to advance.
“There are a lot of teams with impressive one-two combos in their starting staff that they’re going to roll out in this first round,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. “But we feel as good about (Kyle) Hendricks and (Yu) Darvish as we would any combination out there.”
How does the Cubs’ Wild Card rotation stack up against the rest of the National League? Here are the eight NL playoff teams’ probable pitchers and where they rank: