Jon Lester to get the ball on Opening Day for Cubs in Miami
Joe Maddon made it official Tuesday when he announced Jon Lester will start for the Cubs on Opening Day in Miami on March 29 (11:40am CDT). Lester will make the Opening Day start for the third time in four seasons with the Cubs and the seventh time in his career. And Lester is in line to start the Cubs home opener against the Pirates on April 9.
Lester ties the Cubs record for the most Opening Day starts by a lefty in franchise history (Hippo Vaughn 1915, 1917, 1919). Lester started both the 2015 and 2017 openers against the Cardinals. Lester will face a rebuilding Miami Marlins’ team that will be looking to make a statement against one of the best teams in all of baseball.
Maddon did not announce the order of the rest of his starting rotation. With Lester starting the first game of the 2018 season, the Cubs figure to lineup RHP Yu Darvish, LHP Jose Quintana, RHP Kyle Hendricks and RHP Tyler Chatwood behind the leader of the starting staff.
Lester is coming off a relatively down season. The lefty did not complete at least 200 innings for the first time since 2011 and posted an ERA over 4.00 and a WHIP more than 1.30 since 2012. And Lester served up a career-high 26 home runs.
In 32 starts a year ago, Lester was 13-8 with a 4.33 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Lester allowed 101 runs, 87 earned, on 179 hits with 60 walks and 180 strikeouts in 180 2/3 innings.