Off-days allow Cubs to flip starting rotation

Arrieta to face righty-heavy Brewers, while Lester takes on left-handed Dodgers

Off-days allow Cubs to flip starting rotation

ST. LOUIS -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon found a way to take advantage of the team's extended stay in St. Louis following Wednesday's postponed game, besides some extra workouts and relaxation at the team hotel.

Maddon has flipped starting pitchers Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta in the rotation for their upcoming starts, with the right-handed Arrieta now scheduled to face the Brewers on Sunday and the lefty Lester set to throw against the Dodgers on Monday.

"Without the off-day we couldn't have done all this," Maddon said before Thursday's series finale against the Cardinals. "But we're just going based on handedness -- Milwaukee [is] predominantly right-handed, Dodgers [are] predominantly left-handed. It just was right in front of us, so we decided to do it. Obviously you can't do it all the time."

The switch allows the Cubs to throw two righties, Kyle Hendricks and Arrieta, in the three-game series at Milwaukee, with lefty Brett Anderson starting the series opener on Friday. Then Chicago will deploy two lefties, Lester and Anderson, in the three-game home-opening series against Los Angeles.

"It was so obvious we couldn't walk away from it," Maddon said, "so that's why we decided to do it."

Arrieta (1-0), who tossed six scoreless innings against the Cardinals on Tuesday, won two of his three starts against the Brewers last season.

Lester, who started Sunday's season opener in St. Louis and allowed one earned run in five innings, went 1-0 in two starts against the Dodgers in 2016, giving up just one earned run in 15 innings over two starts. He struck out 10 in a complete-game victory against Los Angeles on June 1.

Lester's solid Opening Day start

Worth noting

Maddon joked Thursday morning that the team's extended stay in St. Louis -- after arriving on Friday evening and leaving after Thursday's day game -- was like a second Spring Training.

"We're concluding our second Spring Training," Maddon said. "We had one in Arizona and one in Missouri. I concluded my week with the Four Seasons health spa. I got a workout in every day, got a steam in every day, got a jacuzzi in every day and I got a nap in every day. So after going seven weeks of Spring Training with one day off, basically, you get three off in a week in St. Louis. It's just the insanity of what we do."

What did the manager do on Wednesday night after that game was postponed? Well, he thought about heading to dinner in an area of the city well known for its Italian restaurants, but he instead opted to stay in.

"I was considering The Hill last night, but couldn't motivate myself at all," Maddon said. "So I ordered off the kids menu -- grilled cheese and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and club soda. So I had a big night."

Nate Latsch is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.