Cubs name Jon Lester Opening Day Starter … Lester Will Face the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 2 … Jake Arrieta to Start Second Game of 2017 Season
Jon Lester will get the ball on Opening Night of the 2017 season. Joe Maddon announced Thursday that Lester will make his second Opening Day start for the Cubs in three years. Lester is coming off a sensational season in which he led the best pitching staff in the majors to a World Series Championship.
Lester finished second in the NL Cy Young Award last season to Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals. Kyle Hendricks, who should get the ball for the third game of the season, was behind Lester in the Cy Young voting by the BBWAA.
Lester went 19-5 in 32 starts for the Cubs a year ago in the regular season with a 2.44 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 3.41 FIP. Lester allowed 57 runs, 55 earned, on 154 hits with 52 walks and 197 strikeouts in 202 2/3 innings. Lester was twice named the NL Pitcher of the Month, and he was an All-Star for the fourth time in his career.
Jon Lester shined in the postseason. Lester shared NLCS Most Valuable Player honors with Javier Baez. Lester went 1-0 in two starts with a 1.38 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers. And in The World Series, Lester was 1-1 in three games, two starts, with a 3.68 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Lester beat the Indians in Game 5 when the Cubs faced elimination and he pitched in relief of Kyle Hendricks in Game 7 of The Series.
Lester is entering his third season with the Cubs. In his first two years, Lester is 30-17 in 64 games with a 2.89 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 3.16 FIP.
Lester makes his spring debut Sunday against the Rangers in Surprise.
Maddon announced Wednesday that Mike Montgomery would start Friday at Sloan Park against the Reds. Kyle Hendricks will make his first start of the spring Saturday against the Dodgers. Brett Anderson will follow Hendricks. Lester gets the ball on Sunday and Jake Arrieta will get the start Monday in Tempe against the Angels. John Lackey faces Team Italy in Mesa on Tuesday for what will be his first game action of the spring.
Arrieta is lined up to take the ball for the second game of the regular season. Maddon announced Thursday that Arrieta would follow Lester in the rotation for the start of the 2017 season.