The Chicago Cubs just beat the Washington Nationals 9-8 — in one of the craziest baseball games you’ll ever see — to advance to their third consecutive National League Championship Series.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein — who has seen a lot of crazy baseball over the years — said that he was “nervous as fuck and bemused” as he watched Thursday night’s game.
I asked Theo to describe his feelings during the game: "Nervous as fuck and bemused."
— jon greenberg (@jon_greenberg) October 13, 2017
To win the game, it took the Cubs using seven pitchers, including closer Wade Davis for the final seven outs. Kyle Hendricks started the game and threw 81 pitches over four innings, and Game 3 starter Jose Quintana came out of the bullpen for 12 pitches. This is after Game 2 starter Jon Lester threw 55 pitches over 3 2/3 innings in relief of Jake Arrieta in Game 4.
So, all four Cubs playoff starters have pitched in a game since Wednesday, and Game 1 of the NLCS is Saturday, followed by Game 2 on Sunday. The Cubs understandably went by the “you have to get there first” mentality when thinking the NLCS, but it’s left them in a tough spot, and especially when you consider they have to face Clayton Kershaw and a rested juggernaut team in Game 1.
During the Cubs’ postgame celebration, Epstein was asked who would start Game 1 for the Cubs, and he said that the Cubs will “figure it out on the plane before the heavy drinking starts.”
Theo on setting up the rotation for Dodgers: “We’ll figure it out on the plane before the heavy drinking starts.” Ha.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) October 13, 2017
(I actually saw this great quote on television and meant to get video, but I accidentally changed the channel and lost my DVR rewinding ability. Dammit.)
But Epstein made it sound like the Cubs are currently planning on going with Quintana in Game 1, as Thursday’s brief outing was basically like a scheduled side session.
Early, early word out of this celebration is Quintana could be the guy on Saturday. Theo: "Was like a bullpen session for him."
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) October 13, 2017
Quintana put together a 3.74 ERA and 3.25 FIP in 14 regular-season starts for the Cubs after being acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox in July. He was outstanding in Game 3, shutting out the Nats over 5 2/3 innings in the Cubs’ 2-1 win.
If the Cubs decide against the Quintana idea, John Lackey would be the most likely alternative. The veteran right-hander was the Cubs’ No. 5 starter this season and was on the NLDS roster, but didn’t pitch in a game.