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Jon Lester named the Cubs 2017 Opening Night starter

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CHICAGO, IL - MAY 16: Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning on May 16, 2015 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

MESA, Ariz.  – The man who started off each of the playoff series for the Cubs en route to the World Series will now start the team’s first title defense since 1909.

On Thursday Joe Maddon announced that Jon Lester will be the starter for the Cubs’ Opening Night game against the Cardinals on Sunday, April 2nd at Busch Stadium.

It will be the second time in the last three seasons that Lester has started the first game of the year for the Cubs. His last came in 2015 when he pitched the opener against St. Louis at Wrigley Field. Last year’s opening day starter Jake Arrieta will pitch in the Cubs’ second game of the season on Tuesday, April 4th.

The runner-up for the Cy Young Award in 2016, Lester was 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA during the regular season. In the playoffs, he started the first game of every series and finished the postseason with a 3-1 record and a 2.02 ERA.

Lester was named co-MVP of the National League Championship Series in helping the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.