Lou Piniella strongly suggested Wednesday night that Ryan Dempster would be his Game 1 starter. Today, he made it official.
"He deserves it," Piniella said. "He's been extremely consistent and reliable all season long. Plus, Games 1 and 5 are at home, so it makes all the sense in the world."
Piniella didn't name the rest of his playoff rotation.
In other Cubs news, Piniella left Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Aramis Ramirez out of his lineup for tonight's game against the Mets. Mark DeRosa is also out, but he's unavailable because of a calf strain.
Piniella said that the Brewers, battling the Mets in the NL wild-card race, have no reason to be upset, because the Cubs have already won two of the first three games against the Mets.
"I'm resting my team," Piniella said. "That was a long, long game (Wednesday night)."
Piniella hinted that he'll also rest many regulars Friday night in Milwaukee, but that he plans to play most of them Saturday and Sunday.
"We have two days off Monday and Tuesday," Piniella explained. "I've got to play the regulars, because I don't want to see them sit for three or four days."
That all assumes, of course, that the Cubs don't ahve to play a makeup game Monday.
There are two scenarios in which they would. Rain is coming to New York, although as of now (almost 6 p.m.) the rain still hasn't arrived. If tonight's game can't be played, it would be made up on Monday if necessary.
And then there's the third game of the Hurricane series, the one in which the Cubs and Astros played two games in Milwaukee last week. The only way that game would be played Monday in Houston is if the Astros make up three games on both the Mets and Brewers between now and Sunday.
What makes that strange, of course, is that one part of the Astros making up all those games on the Brewers is that the Cubs would have to beat the Brewers all weekend in Milwaukee. Imagine a scenario Sunday in which the Cubs could get Monday off by losing, but could force themselves into a meaningless (for them) Monday trip to Houston should they win.
What kind of lineup do you think Piniella would play that day?