Rainout Pushes Lester from Home Opener, Gives Him More Rest

Tuesday’s rainout means the Cubs didn’t get the chance to face Cody Reed, who could have solved some of their offensive issues. On the bright side, they didn’t add to their 58 strikeouts and the bullpen got some much-needed rest. The decision to play the game as a day/night doubleheader on May 19 has a more subtle impact, as well.

Joe Maddon said he planned to keep the rotation as-is, which means Jon Lester will pitch Thursday in Milwaukee, followed by Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, and Jose Quintana for the remainder of the four-game set. That puts Tyler Chatwood in line for the home opener, which is kind of a bummer for fans.

That’s not a knock on Chatwood, who has more than enough stuff to overcome the Pirates, it’s just that he doesn’t have quite the cachet of his rotation-mates. But what might be seen as disappointing on some level could actually be a blessing for Lester. Because of breaks both scheduled and rain-induced, he’ll have six days of rest between his first and second starts and then another five days before his third.

The veteran lefty will then open the Cardinals series on April 16 with regular rest, after which he’ll get five days off before facing the Rockies. Then he’ll get five more days before pitching against the Brewers again. Most of that would have been true even had Lester pitched Tuesday, but pushing him back one more day and allowing him to really space out these first few starts may come in handy later in the season.

Of course, Maddon could see fit to shift things by reordering the rotation or by employing Mike Montgomery as a starter, but that doesn’t seem necessary given all this time off. What’s most important regardless of how much time he has in between starts is that Lester performs better than he did on Opening Day in Miami. And that the Cubs score some runs for him.

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