Rick Scuteri / USA TODAY Sports

Jon Lester will take the mound on Opening Day when the Chicago Cubs begin their World Series title defense in St. Louis.

The left-hander was officially named the starter Thursday by manager Joe Maddon, marking the second time in three years he’s received the honor with the Cubs.

“He’s definitely earned it and deserves it,” Maddon said, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times.

Lester was the Cubs’ top starter last season, going 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 197 strikeouts across 202 2/3 innings. He finished second in NL Cy Young voting behind Max Scherzer.

The 33-year-old Lester made four consecutive Opening Day starts from 2011-14 while a member of the Boston Red Sox.