I can’t exactly say why, but I suspect most of us were expecting that Jon Lester would get this year’s Opening Day assignment for the Chicago Cubs, and today, the team confirmed it. Jake Arrieta will get game two, and, presumably, Kyle Hendricks will start the third game (though John Lackey has always pitched well at Busch Stadium, so maybe he’ll get the nod).
Lester, 33, was a Cy Young finalist last year, together with Hendricks, and posted a career best 2.44 ERA. He continued his incredible streak of 200+ inning seasons (five in a row, and eight of nine), and feels like the steady anchor at the front of the rotation. The Opening Day start is little more than an honorarium, but Lester deserves this one.
Lester last started on Opening Day for the Cubs two years ago (Arrieta took his turn last year), which also came against the Cardinals.