Today, the Chicago Cubs made it official: Jon Lester will once again be their Opening Day starter.
The 34-year-old lefty has taken the honor twice before in his three years with the Cubs, missing only 2016 after Jake Arrieta won the Cy Young the year before. Like we’ve been saying – and I think pretty much everyone agrees – any pitcher in the Cubs’ front four could have made plenty of sense as an Opening Day starter. For that reason, then, it makes the most sense to go with the veteran leader in the rotation. That’s Lester, and he’ll get the ball when the season opens up in Miami on March 29 (and I’ll be there! Woo!).
This will also line Lester up to miss the Brewers series the first time the Cubs face them, which Joe Maddon mentioned was desirable due to their penchant for running (Rogers).
The rest of the rotation hasn’t been announced, but the current Spring Training rotation goes Tyler Chatwood (yesterday), Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana. So, then, it stands to reason that if everyone stays healthy, the order will stay the same heading into the season, with Hendricks taking game two, Darvish game three, Quintana game four, all against the Marlins. Then Chatwood would make his debut in Cincinnati for game five.
As for Lester, I’m looking forward to his 2018 season as something of a bounce back. He can still provide the Cubs a whole lot of value over the next three years.