MESA, Ariz - In a season where the Cubs are favorites to play deep into October, Joe Maddon figures to have plenty on complex decisions to make concerning his lineups over the next seven months.
The one he made on Tuesday wasn't one of them.
During a news conference at the team's Spring Training headquarters in Mesa Maddon announced that reigning Cy Young Award Winner Jake Arrieta will be the Cubs opening day starter.
He'll take the mound for the team against the Angels on April 4th at 9 PM at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. This will be the first opening day start for Arrieta as a member of the Cubs.
This move by Maddon should come as no surprise to Cubs fans after the incredible 2015 season which the pitcher had-especially in the second half. Arrieta finished the season 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA in becoming the first Cubs pitcher to win 20 games since Jon Lieber in 2001 and the first to capture a Cy Young Award since Greg Maddux in 1992.
What clinched the award was the final two months of the season in which Arrieta went 11-0 and allowed just four total earned runs from August 4th on. In the National League Wild Card Playoff game against the Pirates in Pittsburgh, Arrieta threw a complete game, five-hit shutout as the Cubs won their first playoff game in 12 years.
This will be the second different opening day starter for Joe Maddon in his tenure with the Cubs. Last year the honor went to Jon Lester, who gave up three runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in a 3-0 loss to the Cardinals at Wrigley Field last April 5th.