Brian Schneider is a late scratch due to a back problem. Robinson Cancel is starting behind the plate and hitting eighth. Meanwhile, Lou Piniella is doing the Mets favor, not that he cares about their fate. But his Cubs lineup is missing five of the eight regulars, although one, Mark DeRosa, strained his calf on Wednesday. Now the Mets just have to beat Chicago and beat the rain that’s supposedly on its way.
Here’s the Cubbies’ lineup:
Only Theriot, Edmonds and Fukadome are the regulars.
Here’s some other pregame news and notes:
Jerry Manuel all but said he doesn’t want to use John Maine out of the bullpen, that being activated Maine’s reward for working to get back. Manuel said he’s old school and doesn’t like throwing a young arm out there if there’s a problem. Maine said he still has a little pain in the shoulder thanks to the bone spur and understands, although he held out remote hope of being used for an inning in a game that isn’t tight, if there is one.
Ramon Martinez gets the start at second after impressing Manuel last night when he came off the bench and had a double and bases-loaded walk. Damion Easley told Manuel that he would be ready to play second tomorrow.
Manuel said Johan Santana wouldn’t be used on three days’ rest to start on Saturday. Piniella said he would start Ryan Dempster in Game 1 next week. That would be against the Mets at Wrigley if they can nail down the wild card.