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MESA, Ariz. – Since signing with the Cubs in 2015, its nearly been an annual duty for the lefty.

In his first season, 2017, and then in 2018, Jon Lester has been the first starting pitcher to take the mound in the Cubs’ regular season. His reliability and veteran presence have earned him the role during this golden era of the franchise.

In 2019, Lester will get to keep the tradition going, as Joe Maddon named him the starter for Opening Day against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas on March 28th at 3:05 PM.

It’s the third-straight year Lester gets the nod for the first game of the year and the fourth time he’s done so in five years with the Cubs. Only one time since joining the Cubs has he not gotten the honor, with reigning Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta getting the start in 2016 against the Angels in Anaheim.

Maddon has not named the rest of his starting rotation for the beginning of the season.

Lester is coming off an All-Star season for the Cubs in 2018, where he finished 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA in helping the Cubs secure a spot in the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. In 128 games for the team since 2015, Lester is 61-31 with a 3.33 ERA and was a finalist for the Cy Young Award in 2016.

He was also named co-MVP for the 2016 National League Championship Series during which the Cubs won their first pennant in 71 years. He would pick up a win in Game 5 of the World Series against Cleveland later that October, helping the team to their first title since 1908.

Once again, Lester will get that chance to start the road to a championship as the starter for the first of 162 games for the Cubs.