It's Dodgers' Maeda vs. Cubs' Lester in NLCS Game 1
L.A. starter has lost his last 3 starts
Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda will start Game 1 of the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.
Maeda has lost three straight starts, lasting just three innings in his first career playoff appearance Monday against Washington. But manager Dave Roberts had limited options after he used six pitchers in the Dodgers' series-clinching win against the Nationals on Thursday night, including ace Clayton Kershaw for the final two outs.
"Physically, he feels great," Roberts said Friday of Kershaw. "He's going to go out there and get a lift in and throw and run and do what he does. So, obviously, we're not prepared to make that decision yet, but he's tracking to start when we all think."
The 28-year-old Maeda went 16-11 with a 3.48 ERA in his first season in the majors.
"We've been relying a lot on our relief pitchers to take the load, so I want to be able to — I'm really just focused on throwing quality innings as long as I can," Maeda said through a translator. "And as long as I keep throwing quality innings, then I would be able to throw longer and deeper into the game."
Jon Lester gets the ball for the Cubs, who eliminated the Giants with a 6-5 win in Game 4 of their NL Division Series on Tuesday night.
Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey round out the rotation for the Cubs in a repeat of the first round. Roberts wasn't ready to announce the rest of the rotation for the Dodgers.