Yesterday Joe Maddon talked a bit about what the Cubs might do if they beat the Pirates on October 7th. Jon Lester would start Game 1 against the Cardinals and then what? Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks haven't exactly pitched great down the stretch. The Cubs have had a couple bullpen games recently due to double-headers that have turned out fairly well for the Cubs.
Travis Wood, Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahill are all more than capable of taking the ball for a few innings. This would eliminate the need to for the starter to face the lineup a 3rd time. Hopefully, much of the lineup would not even see a second at-bat against the same pitcher.
Hammel hasn't been the same since returning from injury earlier this year. Going back to July 21st, Hammel's starts have not lasted particularly long. He's had the following number of innings in each start since then: 5, 3.2, 5.2, 4, 5.2, 3, 6.1, 5, 5, 6, 3.2, 5.
In those 58 innings, he's allowed 66 hits and 37 runs. He's walked 22 and struckout 60 while giving up 11 home runs. Opposing batters have hit .281/.346/.515.
This is a small sample, but I can see where Joe is coming from.
Kyle Hendricks hasn't fared a whole lot better since the All Star break. He's been a bit more consistent in terms of innings pitched. He's lasted at least 5 innings in all but 3 starts this year (April 12, August 14 and September 17). The results haven't been a whole lot better lately though.
Since the break he's thrown 63 innings, allowed 65 hits and 8 home runs. He's struckout 63 while walking 24 and hitting 8 batters. Opposing batters have hit .264/.337/.431. If the Cubs 3rd starter is being chosen based on performance late in the season, it should be Kyle Hendricks.
I'd still take Jason Hammel as I think the entirety of this season, as well as the previous season would indicate he's a better pitcher than Hendricks. If you're going to go with a bullpen day, it ought to be considered that these two pitchers combine in one of them. You could have one or the other start and then the other one relieve them hoping to get through 6 or 7 innings total. The other bullpen game could be the reverse of this or you could use any combination of these two, Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill and Clayton Richard.
Personally, I'd probably go with Jason Hammel in that potential Game 2 and Kyle Hendricks in Game 4.
First, let's just get in the playoffs and then beat Pittsburgh.