The Chicago Cubs remain alive in the playoffs but face a dilemma similar to what the Arizona Diamondbacks encountered after advancing to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Aiding the Cubs is depth in their starting rotation that the Diamondbacks did not have.
A rainout and postponement of Game 4 of the National League Division Series put the Cubs and Washington Nationals in a difficult position. That was magnified when the Nationals forced the series to a decided Game 5.
The Cubs started Kyle Hendricks and used Jose Quintana among several other relievers. The Nationals started Gio Gonzalez and called on Max Scherzer out of the bullpen.
While Quintana appeared in relief, he’s likely to start against the Dodgers on Saturday in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series, per Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:
Jose Quintana expected to start Game 1 Saturday against Kershaw. Cubs to finalize plans Friday. Theo said Thurs. relief like a side session.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) October 13, 2017
Once Quintana entered the game at Nationals Park, it was widely believed John Lackey was earmarked to face the Dodgers in the NLCS opener if the Cubs were to advance. Lackey has yet to make his 2017 postseason debut.
As for Quintana, he went 5.2 innings against the Nationals last Monday. He retired two of four batters faced out of the bullpen on Thursday night, though only threw 12 pitches. The postseason experience is the first of his career, and Quintana has never pitched on one days’ rest.
He’s appeared on two days’ rest three times in his career, making one start. In the 2013 outing, Quintana suffered the loss as he allowed three runs on seven hits, including three home runs, walked one and struck out four in seven innings of work.