In reality, “Opening Day starter” is really more of a symbolic mantle than a strategic designation. That said, there is a little extra gravity in that first game, so even if it weren’t just about giving someone a plaudit, you might want an unfazed veteran type getting that start.
So, for the Cubs, it should be no surprise on any of those fronts that it’s going to be Jon Lester making this year’s Opening Day start for the Cubs in Texas on March 28. Joe Maddon made it official today.
With five guys in the rotation who could credibly be Opening Day types, there wasn’t going to be a wrong decision, so go with the guy who’s been with the Cubs a good long while, is one of the most grizzled veterans on the club, and show that confidence in Lester right out of the gate. All fine by me.
From there, I suspect the Cubs will go with the rotation they set out in the Spring, which was Lester, followed by Yu Darvish, then Cole Hamels, then Kyle Hendricks, and then Jose Quintana. The lefties are broken up by the righties until Quintana and Lester go (but obviously two lefties will have to go back-to-back at some point), and also both Hamels and Darvish would get a Texas homecoming in that first series, which might give them a little extra get-up-and-go.
Only a little over three weeks until Opening Day, my friends. LET’S GO, BDJ.