In this case, he'll have momentum on his side. The Mets' starting pitchers have logged a 1.26 ERA over their past six games, a streak that includes just six earned runs over their past 43 innings. Santana's last outing -- which saw him log seven shutout innings and strike out nine Cardinals in a no-decision -- helped ignite the trend.
The Cubs, meanwhile, have gotten some solid starting pitching of their own. Chicago's starters have logged five quality starts and a 2.21 ERA over their past seven outings, but the Cubs have gone just 2-5 over that span. Chicago elected Wednesday to move workhorse Carlos Zambrano into the bullpen to slot Ted Lilly back into the rotation when he comes off the disabled list.
That move will be effective Friday, and Lilly is expected to make his season debut Saturday. By moving Zambrano, the Cubs elected to keep Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny in their rotation roles. Silva paid dividends with another quality outing Wednesday, and Gorzelanny will attempt to hold serve in Thursday's series finale against the Mets.
Cubs: Only Gorzelanny's pride hurts
The Cubs may have shuffled their rotation Wednesday, but they opted not to move Gorzelanny to the bullpen, because of their supply of left-handed pitchers in relief. Gorzelanny left his last start early after getting hit by a line drive back through the box, but he said later that he wasn't really affected and that he didn't expect any long-term effects.
"I felt like somebody just slapped me in the shoulder," Gorzelanny said of the liner. "I didn't think it was too serious, and it's not. ... I felt like I didn't need to come out. At that point, it didn't feel like it was bad at all."
Gorzelanny said he tried to communicate that to Piniella, but the manager's mind had already been made up.
"I tried pretty hard to stay in," Gorzelanny said. "I pleaded my case, but Lou wasn't having any of that. In the heat of the moment, I got a little upset. But I got time to think about it and realize that was the right decision."
Mets: Santana wants win this time
Santana may have earned a no-decision in his last outing, but it was one that came with a heavy caveat. The left-hander threw seven shutout innings and struck out nine batters in his last start, but the Mets wound up taking 20 innings to beat St. Louis. Santana may be motivated by that start, and he's 2-0 with a 1.71 career ERA against the Cubs.
New York's bullpen went into Wednesday's game with the second-best ERA (2.11) in the league, but it wound up allowing six earned runs in the 9-3 loss. Three of those runs were charged to Manny Acosta, who was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day. New York called Acosta up after placing Ryota Igarashi on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
The Cubs and Mets have met 684 times in the regular season and each club owns a 341-341 record with two ties. ... The Mets have won four of their past seven games and have outscored their opponents 26-17 over that span. ... Silva struck out just four batters on Wednesday night, but the Cubs still have the most strikeouts (117) of any big league rotation. ... Alfonso Soriano homered, tripled and drove in three runs Wednesday night, continuing an impressive surge. Soriano is now hitting .464 (13-for-28) with seven extra-base hits in his past nine games.
Thu, 4/22 7:10 PM ET
Pick six: Big inning backs Johan's effort
Held quiet early by Cubs starter Tom Gorzelanny, the Mets needed just one big frame with Johan Santana on the mound -- and they delivered it, beginning with David Wright's RBI double to spark a four-run sixth.
|Baker, Je, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.206|
|b-Tracy, C, PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.125|
|c-Ramirez, Ar, PH-3B||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.127|
|Lee, D, 1B||5||0||1||0||0||0||2||.241|
|Soriano, A, LF||3||0||0||0||1||1||4||.308|
|Russell, J, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Reyes, Js, SS||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.226|
|Castillo, L, 2B||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.265|
|Rodriguez, Fr, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Wright, D, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||3||1||.241|
|Davis, I, 1B||4||2||3||0||0||1||0||.400|
|Santana, J, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||4||.143|
2B: Byrd (6, Santana, J), Fontenot (2, Santana, J).
TB: Theriot 2; Lee, D; Byrd 4; Nady; Soto; Fontenot 2; Fukudome.
RBI: Fukudome (7), Fontenot (2).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Soto 2; Baker, Je; Lee, D; Colvin.
Team RISP: 1-for-13.
Team LOB: 10.
E: Gorzelanny (1, throw), Fontenot (1, fielding).
Outfield assists: Nady (Barajas at 2nd base).
DP: (Fontenot-Theriot-Lee, D).
2B: Wright, D (3, Gorzelanny), Davis, I (1, Berg).
TB: Reyes, Js; Wright, D 2; Francoeur; Davis, I 4; Barajas.
RBI: Wright, D (8), Francoeur (9), Barajas (8).
2-out RBI: Francoeur; Barajas.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Santana, J 2.
SAC: Castillo, L.
GIDP: Castillo, L.
Team RISP: 3-for-8.
Team LOB: 5.
E: Francoeur (1, missed catch).
Mejia pitched to 1 batter in the 8th.
Pitches-strikes: Gorzelanny 105-67, Russell, J 11-6, Gray 11-8, Berg 13-8, Santana, J 103-78, Nieve 1-1, Feliciano 25-17, Mejia 6-2, Rodriguez, Fr 25-16.
Groundouts-flyouts: Gorzelanny 7-3, Russell, J 1-0, Gray 1-0, Berg 0-1, Santana, J 5-7, Nieve 0-0, Feliciano 1-2, Mejia 0-0, Rodriguez, Fr 0-2.
Batters faced: Gorzelanny 24, Russell, J 3, Gray 3, Berg 4, Santana, J 27, Nieve 1, Feliciano 5, Mejia 1, Rodriguez, Fr 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Russell, J 2-2, Nieve 1-0, Feliciano 2-0, Mejia 2-0, Rodriguez, Fr 3-1.
Umpires: HP: Mark Carlson. 1B: Jeff Nelson. 2B: Todd Tichenor. 3B: Jeff Kellogg.
Weather: 61 degrees, cloudy.
Wind: 11 mph, Out to LF.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media