Cubs’ Jon Lester to start Opening Night against Cardinals


Chicago Cubs fans will not have to wait long to see what all the hype has been around big-money free agent signing Jon Lester this season, in wake of Monday’s announcement by skipper Joe Maddon..

"“Jon will start opening night,” Maddon told the Chicago Tribune after Monday’s workouts in Arizona."

Lester will face the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in his Cubs debut. It was a decision that has seemed obvious since the lefty signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the club on Dec. 15. He will start off not only the Cubs season, but also the MLB season on April 5 in the Opening Night tilt.

Some had wondered if Maddon might choose to give last season’s ace Jake Arrieta the nod against the Cardinals, but in the end this decision seemed inevitable.

It will be Lester’s fifth consecutive Opening Day start. In his past four Opening Day starts, all with the Boston Red Sox, he had a combined 3.73 ERA.

Maddon plans to give Lester his Spring Training debut on Friday against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals have yet to announce their starter for Opening Night with uncertainty surrounding their ace Adam Wainwright, who suffered an abdominal strain just before Spring Training officially began.

Wainwright threw a 41-pitch bullpen session Monday and said his arm “feels great.” He aims to be available Opening Day, but if he is unable to pitch, right-hander Lance Lynn may get the nod in his place.

Since 2005, the Cubs have had only three starters on Opening Day: Carlos Zambrano (2005 to 2010), Ryan Dempster (2011 and 2012) and Jeff Samardzija (2013 and 2014).