The pitching matchup for Game 1 of the 2016 World Series is set as the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians attempt to win their first World Series since 1908 and 1948, respectively.
Both pitchers have excelled so far in the postseason. Kluber has posted a 0.98 ERA in three starts, while Lester has been just as good with a 0.86 ERA in the same number of games.
It was likely an easy choice for Indians manager Terry Francona. Injuries to his pitching staff have created a number of question marks about the postseason rotation, but Kluber has been Cleveland's one constant throughout the year. The 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner had a 3.14 ERA this season, and his 227 strikeouts ranked fifth in the AL.
According to Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer will likely start Games 2 and 3 in some order, depending on Bauer's health after suffering a pinky injury on his throwing hand.
The Cubs had a few more options for Game 1, including 2016 ERA leader Kyle Hendricks and 2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. However, Lester has been as good as both of them this season with a 19-5 record and a 2.44 ERA.
He is also one of the few players in this matchup with World Series experience, having compiled a 3-0 record and a 0.43 ERA in three starts in the sport's final round. He won two titles with the Boston Red Sox.
Arrieta will get the ball in Game 2, per Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
While the rest of his teammates and fans were celebrating the National League pennant, Lester remained focused on the next goal, per JJ Stankevitz of CSN Chicago:
JJ Stankevitz @JJStankevitz
Jon Lester: "We ain't done anything yet."2016-10-23 04:21:08
No matter who wins, Lester and Kluber are likely going to provide an entertaining duel in Game 1.