Chicago Cubs Opening Day Lineup: Almora Leads Off, Bote 2B, Zagunis LF, Lester Starting

It’s finally here. Opening Day has been a long time coming, but now the games count again.

As we saw throughout the spring, Albert Almora Jr. is leading off and playing center with lefty Mike Minor on the mound for the Rangers. He’s followed by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in their standard roles, with Javy Báez cleaning up and playing short.

Willson Contreras is catching, Ben Zobrist is the DH, and David Bote puts his retooled swing to work at second. Jason Heyward bats eighth in right and, wow, Mark Zagunis gets the call over Kyle Schwarber in left. That last one is mainly due to the southpaw they’re facing, but it’s also something of a reward for Zagunis making the roster out of camp.

Big Jon Lester is on the mound in what is as much as a nod to his venerable leadership as his talent at this point. But he’s still got enough of the latter, and what he’s lost over the years he makes up for with guile. Watch how he’s commanding the zone and hitting his spots early, because that will determine how effective he’ll be in this one.

First pitch from Arlington is set for 3:05pm CT and can be seen on WGN or heard on 670 The Score. That broadcast info is bittersweet, since this will mark the last Cubs Opening Day on WGN. Hard to believe, isn’t it? While it’s been a long time since the Superstation was anything like what many of us grew up on, it’s still going to be tough when the divorce papers are actually signed and all their stuff is moved out.

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