It's been a long time in coming: Terry Francona has named Jon Lester as the Opening Day starter for the 2011 season. This according to just about every media member in Florida, but let's give the hat tip to Rob Bradford on this one.
Really, this should be the third year straight for Lester getting the call on day one, but the lingering effects of Josh Beckett's Cy Young worthy season in 2007 along with Terry Francona's typical loyalty have kept Lester waiting. But it seems that, finally, the ace's torch has been officially passed along.
Of course, Jon Lester has never been known for fast starts to the season. His ERA in March stands at 4.71 for his career with a 4.17 xFIP--by far his worst numbers of any month. But still, he's absolutely the team's best starter at the moment, and should be getting as many starts as humanly possible.
Lester will get the start today against the Atlanta Braves, which based on a regular schedule would have him set to pitch on Opening Day with five days of rest. So far Lester has only thrown six innings in spring, but has kept runs off the board and allowed only six baserunners on five hits and a walk.