Jon Lester will start the Chicago Cubs' playoff opener.
Manager Joe Maddon announced Tuesday he was going with Lester over Kyle Hendricks and 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta in Game 1 of the NLDS against the New York Mets or San Francisco Giants. The series opens at Wrigley Field on Friday, with the Cubs' sights set on winning their first World Series since 1908 after leading the majors with 103 wins.
Lester (19-5) was second in the majors to Hendricks with a 2.44 ERA.
Hendricks (16-8, 2.13) will start Game 2 at home on Saturday. Arrieta (18-8, 3.10) will pitch Game 3 on the road, with John Lackey (11-8, 3.35) starting Game 4 if necessary.
Lester was 10-2 with a 1.74 ERA at Wrigley Field. Hendricks also dominated at home, going 9-2 with a 1.32 ERA.
Arrieta was shaky down the stretch, going 3-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his last seven starts.
>>Encarnacion's Walk Off Sends Blue Jays To NLDS
Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run drive in the 11th inning off Ubaldo Jimenez , and Toronto beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 in Tuesday night's AL wild card game to advance to a Division Series matchup against old foe Texas.
Jose Bautista also homered for the Blue Jays , who open the Division Series on Tuesday at Texas. Encarnacion's homer brought back memories of the tiebreaking, three-run shot that Bautista hit in the seventh inning of Game 5 of last year's AL Division Series win over the Rangers, a shot punctuated by a memorable bat flip.
Jimenez relieved Brian Duensing with one out in the 11th, and Devon Travis singled in a 1-1 pitch. Reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson singled on the next pitch, and Travis went all the way to third as left fielder Nolan Reimold bobbled the ball.
Encarnacion sent the following pitch, a 91 mph offering, soaring into the second deck in left. Encarnacion immediately knew it was gone and raised both arms in triumph, index fingers pointed skyward.
Orioles closer Zach Britton, who was perfect in 47 save chances during the regular season, never got in the game.
Francisco Liriano retired five straight batters on four groundouts and a strikeout for the win after closer Roberto Osuna left with a sore shoulder.
Toronto beat Texas in five-game Division Series, sparked by Bautista's memorable homer. The teams brawled in May this year when Bautista was punched in the face by Rangers infielder Rougned Odor following a play at second base.