5/1 Sor-I-A-No, Sor-I-A-No

Alfonso Soriano is starting to heat up. On Saturday, he hit his second homer in as many games with a two-run, game-tying blast in the seventh. The Cubs went on to beat the Diamondbacks, 7-5.

The count was 3-1 when home plate umpire Sam Holbrook called a strike on a pitch Soriano thought was a ball. The left fielder stepped back into the box and launched the next pitch from former Cubs pitcher Bob Howry into the bleachers in left center.

“He called a strike so I thought if [Howry] throws my pitch in the zone, I want to swing at it,” Soriano said. “If he throws a ball, I’ll take the ball. He threw a very good pitch, middle away, and I took a good swing.”

Soriano, now hitting .303, has been more patient and able to recognize his pitch. Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo wants Soriano to keep his lower body quiet, which helps him stay back and see the ball better. If he’s relaxed at the plate, not worried about his knee, swinging at strikes, the end result can be 40 homers, 100 RBIs.

“People don’t realize how hurt ‘Sori’ was last year and he played through it,” Derrek Lee said of the left fielder, who needed arthroscopic knee surgery last September. “His numbers were down and we appreciated that he was out on the field. I think you’re going to see a lot better year from ‘Sori’ because he’s 100 percent.”

When Soriano took the field after his homer Saturday, the left field bleacher fans stood and chanted his name.

“That’s what I want to be is working hard to make the fans happy,” Soriano said. “They deserve it. They support the team every day. That’s what I want to do is play hard.”

“Soriano’s starting to get that power swing back,” Lou Piniella said. “That’s what we need from him.”

– Carrie Muskat

6 Comments

It was an exciting day for the Cubs as both their offense came through for them and their bullpen. In fact that’s been the case two days in a row! The last two days the bullpen has pitched better than the starting pitching. These are both good signs for the future of the Cubs this season. Soriano was the biggest offensive question mark coming into the season and he’s hitting lights out. When Rami and Lee start hitting consistently for power and average, this team will be lights out! Even Fukudome looks better than he has even the last two Aprils. I think he’s going to be able to keep up what he’s doing or at least hit at a much higher level than he did the last two years. I expect great things from this offense…I predict that May will be a much better month. In fact, I could see the Cubs winning twenty games this month! Feel free to call me crazy, because I probably am! Just remember me June 1st.

pman I love the optimism! Lee has shown some signs he might start to break out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ramirez moved to the 6th spot in the lineup until he starts hitting. Actually I like him in the 8th spot until he starts hitting but I know Pinella won’t put him in the 8th spot. Right now the way Soto is hitting I like him in the 6th spot.
Projected Lineup till Ramirez starts hitting-

Theriot
Fukodome
Lee
Byrd
Soriano
Ramirez
Fontenot
Soto

My preferred lineup till Ramirez starts hitting-
Theriot
Fukodome
Lee
Byrd
Soriano
Soto
Fontenot
Ramirez

I like leaving Rami in the 5 spot until he gets hot or starts hitting like he has the rest of his career. It’s also nice to have a guy like Fontenot hitting in the 8th spot as he often sets the table for Theriot or Fukudome to get some RBIs. I would expect to see Nady playing today and probably hitting 4th or 5th though it’s hard to say where he’ll get inserted as that’s a tough choice to make. How are guys like Nady and Baker handling their relatively small amounts of playing time? I wonder what they clubhouse environment is like?? Carrie, do you have a feel for how the clubhouse environment is?

I think Byrd is doing some great stuff in the club house and on the field. Running the bases HARD even when he knows he just left the yard. That is good to see and I give props to Hendry for FINALLY getting it right in the free agent market. Good player, good attitude and good length to the contract, 3 years, nothing silly like 8!! With that said, would anybody be UPSET if Hendry pulled off another trade involving Soriano with the likes of Colvin and a couple other guys possibly finding a way on this team that can both hit AND field? Obviously, I am not a Soriano fan because he still after quite a few years can’t figure out hopping, not hopping, rounding out the ball, getting TOO CLOSE TO THE DARN WALL!!!! Maybe Soriano for some bullpen help?? Just a thought, I’m sure there must be some people out there that would cry without the chance of seeing Sorianon get on one of his hitting jags like he is right now. I wouldn’t miss those.

What you’re missing in your argument is the fact that Soriano’s contract is simply untradeable! He has a full no trade clause in his contract and I don’t think he wants to go anywhere as long as he’s getting playing time and Lou won’t bench him while he’s healthy and playing well, who would, and due to the catch 22 Soriano will not be traded anytime soon. So we’ll just have to hope he keeps hitting lights out and that his defense improves. That is the reality of the situation.

I’m not missing anything nor am I arguing and am well aware of the untradeable contract…I did after all say “IF”, isn’t that allowed anymore? Again, would anybody be upset IF Hendry traded (yes, improbable and miraculous but not impossible, there may be a bigger sucker out there than Hendry, hold it, I think I just proved myself wrong…)Soriano to an AL team? Soriano may just want to be a DH and rid himself of the part of his game that taints his legacy. I can dream just like anybody, without arguing even!!

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