For Jon Lester and the Cubs, Opening Day is already historic.
Joe Maddon told reporters in Arizona Monday that Lester will start for the beloved North Side Chicago team for the first game of the 2019 season.
“He accepted so he’s going to be the Opening Day starter and then we’ll fill in the blanks after that,” Maddon said, noting that Lester “pretty much knew” he’d fill that role.
This will mark the fourth time the left-handed pitcher will start that game for the Cubs in the last five years. It’s also the most Opening Day starts for a lefty in franchise history.
“These are the kind of moments for starting pitchers that they relish,” Maddon said. “They like to be that guy and Johnny’s earned it.”
Lester threw two scoreless innings and struck out three batters in his first start of the spring.
“He’s been spectacular,” Maddon said. “He’s been our rock, he’s been our rock out there.”
The Cubs currently have a 6-4 record so far this spring. They won their last game on Sunday, beating Chicago rivals the White Sox 13-4.