Cubs tab Jon Lester to start Opening Day

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon has tabbed Jon Lester to start on Opening Day, The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney reports. That certainly comes as no surprise, as Lester started on Opening Day for the Cubs in 2017 and ’18, as well as 2015. When he was with the Red Sox, Lester started four consecutive Opening Days from 2011-14.

Lester, 35, finished ninth in NL Cy Young Award balloting last season, going 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA and a 149/64 K/BB ratio across 181 2/3 innings. The veteran lefty is entering the fifth year of his six-year, $155 million contract and will earn $22.5 million in 2019.

The Cubs open the regular season with an interleague match-up in Texas against the Rangers on March 28.