There’s a ton of high expectations within this club house, especially Lester, who isn’t a stranger to winner considering he’s a two-time World Series champion. One of those titles was under Theo Epstein in 2007. Lester recently spoke about having the mindset of winning a World Series and setting high goals each year.
It’s an attitude like this that will motivate the rest of the team to believe that this year will in fact be their year to win it all.
Now that spring training is just around the corner, we’re inching closer and closer to Opening Night against the St. Louis Cardinals on Apr. 5 at Wrigley Field.
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The only question right now is who will take the mound for the 2015 Chicago Cubs against their division rival? That should be an easy answer after the club landed big southpaw Jon Lester, right?
As expected, as camp broke in Arizona this week, first-year Cubs skipper Joe Maddon fielded the question early on, offering this answer.
"“I would like to think he has to be, but I need to talk to him first.”"
It’s an obvious decision, but after speaking to the media on Saturday, Maddon would like to talk to his ace before making ‘any kind of announcement’ – according to Carrie Muskat.
"“I think it’s appropriate if you’re going to do something like that, to talk to Jon first, before we make any kind of announcement like that, but I’m not going to sit here and be disingenuous.”"
Muskat – just like the rest of us – has number two starter Jake Arrieta listed as a second option to pick up the first start of the season. Arrieta, 28, is coming off a huge season where he posted a career best 2.53 ERA.
The TCU alum provides the Cubs with a solid one-two punch following Lester in the starting rotation with Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks right behind them. The fifth spot has multiple options and will likely be determined this spring.
Lester picked up the start for the Red Sox’ Opening Day on Mar. 31 against the Baltimore Orioles. He would pick up his first of 11 losses after allowing just two earned runs off six hits with eight strikeouts through seven innings.
So with tickets going on sale within the next two weeks, I’d expect the first game of the season to sell out regardless of who takes the mound. Just know that Lester is expected to make his Cubs debut that night.