Results tagged ‘ Alfonso Soriano ’
Sure, there are the big awards, like Cy Young and MVP. Dale Sveum was asked which players were the biggest surprises of the season. He picked Shawn Camp and Luis Valbuena. Camp was released by the Mariners in March, and signed a Minor League contract. The right-hander has appeared in a career-high 78 games for the Cubs. Valbuena was claimed off waivers on April 4, spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, and will finish with more starts at third base than Ian Stewart, who had been projected as the Cubs’ every day third baseman.
“Some of these key pickups right at the end of Spring Training have kept us afloat,” Sveum said of Valbuena and Camp. “Those kind of guys have helped us out tremendously or this would have been an even tougher season.”
But Sveum’s biggest surprise was veteran Alfonso Soriano, who has set a career-high in RBIs.
“Soriano has been the biggest every single day, all season long surprise, defensively and offensively,” Sveum said. “The person he is, the work ethic and everything has been awesome for a new manager to come in and see what he brings to the table.”
* Who is most improved? Sveum picked catcher Welington Castillo. He has taken over most of the catching duties since Geovany Soto was dealt to the Rangers at the Trade Deadline. In Spring Training, Castillo was like “a deer in the headlights,” Sveum said.
“What he’s done in the last six months has been the most impressive of anybody and he’s the most improved guy I’ve seen this season,” Sveum said.
Castillo, 25, has worked with pitching coach Chris Bosio and coach Mike Borzello on each day’s game plan, and is counted on to handle the pitch calling. Sveum said the transformation is a combination of more playing time, Soto’s departure, and the realization that Castillo has a chance to be an everyday big league catcher.
“It’s not that ‘yes’ man anymore,” Sveum said of the young catcher. “He’ll actually have input on situations. There are definitely guys who are starting to step up and going into Spring Training, it’ll be a very different atmosphere than going into it this past spring.”
Castillo took it as a challenge.
“I want to be a leader one day, and why not start now?” Castillo said. “They’re giving me an opportunity to be an everyday catcher and I think I have to take advantage of that and start doing that now. I feel really good and appreciate the confidence they have in me.”
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano’s trade value may never be higher than it is now but Cubs manager Dale Sveum would hate to lose the veteran outfielder.
“That’s been our one cornerstone as far as run production,” Sveum said of Soriano, 36, who has 32 home runs and a career-high 108 RBIs, with one year remaining on his contract. “It’s hard to replace that. [Anthony] Rizzo should be fine in a full season and then you find somebody else who can hit home runs to hit fifth. That’s where you start at. Who knows who that is? That’s the million dollar question we have to deal with.”
The Brewers have three players who have combined for more than 200 extra base hits. Sveum would like to see that kind of production from the Cubs lineup in the future. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said they will have financial flexiblity to pursue free agents this offseason but Sveum said they have a lot of areas to address.
“We have multiple holes to fill,” Sveum said. “It’s not just one guy here, one guy there. It’s 10 different spots we have to look hard at and try to get better.”
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano did his part Saturday night, hitting a two-run home run in the ninth, his 32nd.
“I know I’m 36 years old, but I don’t feel like it,” Soriano said. “My body feels good, my hands. I know my knee is not the same but my hitting, my hands are still the same.”
Said D-backs pitcher Trevor Cahill: “I was 0-2 [in the count] and trying to throw one off the plate so he would groundout, get a double play and end it, but it stayed up high. He’s a good player.”
Soriano has 32 home runs and a career-high 108 RBIs, reaching 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the third time in his career and his first time with the Cubs. He has 32 home runs since hitting his first blast on May 15, the most home runs by any NL player starting that date. Soriano is one of only three players in the NL this season to reach 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, joining Ryan Braun (41 homers, 112 RBI) and Chase Headley (30, 112).
Soriano’s 108 RBIs have come at the age of 36 with the Cubs. He’s the first player in franchise history to reach at least 107 RBIs at the age of 36 or older. Ernie Banks had 106 RBIs at the age of 38 in 1969 and Moises Alou had 106 RBIs at the age of 37 in 2004.
– Carrie Muskat
Sunday will be the biggest game of the year for the Cubs. If they want to avoid a 100-loss season, the Cubs must rebound from Saturday’s 8-2 loss to the Diamondbacks, the 99th of the season, and win in the series finale.
“Now, they’ve pushed us to the wall,” Alfonso Soriano said. “We don’t want to lose 100 games so now we have to win all four games left [in the season]. I’ve never been a part of a team that had 100 losses. I’ve never been a part of this and I don’t want to be a part of this. I want to try to come back tomorrow and win the last three games at home.”
The Cubs have lost 100 games only twice in team history, 1962 and ’66, when they finished 59-103 both times.
“Tomorrow is as important as any game we play,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
The Cubs also need a win on Sunday to avoid becoming the first Major League team to go winless against one division on the road in a single season. Chicago is 0-18 on the road against the National League West: San Francisco (0-4), Arizona (0-5), Los Angeles (0-3), San Diego (0-3) and Colorado (0-3). It isn’t just the Pacific or Mountain Time Zones that are a problem, either. The Cubs have lost a franchise-record 58 games on the road.
– Carrie Muskat
* Darwin Barney’s bid for a Major League record fell short on Friday. But he does own all NL records for consecutive error-less games at second base, having surpassed Ryne Sandberg’s former record 123-game error-less streak, allowing for multiple seasons, that ran from June 21, 1989-May 17, 1990. David Eckstein owned the previous NL single-season mark of 113-consecutive games set with San Diego in 2010. Barney’s 141-game errorless streak at second base spanned 1,154 1/3 innings since his only other miscue this year at second base, April 17 in Miami.
Barney’s 141-game errorless streak, which lasted from April 18-Sept. 27, featured more total chances per nine innings (5.30) than any other second baseman in baseball. During the 141 games, Barney had far more putouts (293) than any other second baseman in baseball in that span (Gordon Beckham was next closest at 259) and Barney’s 676 total chances trailed only Arizona’s Aaron Hill (687).
* Alfonso Soriano has a career high 106 RBIs at the age of 36 with the Cubs. With his next RBIs, he will become the first player in franchise history to reach 107 RBIs at the age of 36 or older. Ernie Banks had 106 RBIs at the age of 38 in 1969 and Moises Alou had 106 RBIs at the age of 37 in 2004.
* The Cubs have lost 98 games. The last time they lost more was in 1966 (club-record 103 losses).
* They also are 0-17 on the road against the National League West: San Francisco (0-4), Arizona (0-4), Los Angeles (0-3), San Diego (0-3) and Colorado (0-3).
“Our road record has been pretty awful,” Dale Sveum said. “Not very good teams, that’s usually what happens. You don’t want to lose this many games. … You wish you had the magic potion for that one. Even great teams struggle on the road. You don’t want to struggle this bad. That’s one thing going into next year, you have to get better at.”
The Cubs are 15th in the National League in road batting average (.235), 14th in on-base percentage (.291), 15th in slugging percentage (.368), 15th in runs scored (259), and 10th in home runs (70).
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano is finishing on a strong note. Soriano hit his 31st home run, a solo shot in the sixth, and set a career-high with 105 RBIs in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. The last Cubs player to drive in more runs in a single season was Derrek Lee, who totaled 111 RBIs in 2009. Soriano’s 31 homers are his most since he hit 33 in 2007. His 105 RBIs are the most for any Cubs player, age 36 or older, in a season since Moises Alou drove in 106 at age 37 in 2004. Soriano also is one of two players in the National League this year to total 31 home runs and 105 RBIs, joining the Brewers’ Ryan Braun (40 homers, 108 RBI).
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano hit his 30th home run on Wednesday, and now is the fifth Cubs player age 36 or older to reach 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in a season, joining Hank Sauer, Andre Dawson, Fred McGriff, and Moises Alou. Nothing was going to stop Soriano’s home run, which came with two outs in the sixth off the Reds’ Mike Leake.
“He did it in style,” Dale Sveum said. “The ball wasn’t walking out of there. I think that was going out regardless of wind.”
This is the sixth time in Soriano’s career and second season with the Cubs he has reached 30. The elder statesman on the team also is the second player in MLB history to reach 30 home runs despite not hitting any in his first 30 games. Soriano’s first blast came May 15 in his 31st game. Dwight Evans hit 32 home runs in 1982 for the Red Sox, but didn’t hit his first that season until his 39th game. Soriano, 36, has 103 RBIs, one shy of his career high of 104 set in 2005 with the Rangers.
“I’m proud of myself, I’ve been working hard,” Soriano said. “I always say, if I’m healthy, the numbers will be there. We came up short tonight.”
He was on deck in the 11th when rookie Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging to end the game, and Soriano slammed his bat to the ground in disgust.
“It’s always very sad to see us lose a game, especially after we come back,” Soriano said. “I get a little frustrated because I wanted to win that game because we lost the last two games in a row.”
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano gets Thursday off in the Cubs series finale against the Reds. Here’s the lineup:
Alfonso Soriano hit a RBI single in the first inning Sunday for his 100th RBI of the season. It’s his highest total since he drove in 104 in 2005 with the Rangers.
“If everyone watched the way he goes about his business and does things every single day the same, his work ethic, the way he is in the clubhouse, he always has a smile on his face,” Dale Sveum said of the 36-year-old outfielder. “He goes out there with the knees he has should make all these young guys understand if they think they’re hurting, try to play a game with what Soriano is going through every day. These are things that are invaluable to young players to look at a guy like that who is making $18 million a year and still busting his butt every single day and trying to make himself a better player as well as contributing.”
This is the third season Soriano has reached 100 RBIs. He also did so in 2002 with the Yankees.
Soriano added a RBI double in the eighth and now has 101 for the season.
“I’m just feeling good,” Soriano said. “I had a lot of opportunities to drive guys in. I’m very happy with what I did. Personally, it’s good, but it’s not enough. It could be better if we had a winning record. Now, everybody is trying to have fun the last two, three weeks of the season.”
– Carrie Muskat
Alfonso Soriano is one home run and one RBI away from reaching 30 home runs and 100 RBIs this season. When he hits those marks, he’ll become just the fifth Cubs player, age 36 years or older, to reach 30 homers and 100 RBIs in a season, joining Hank Sauer in 1954 (41 HR, 103 RBI, age 37), Andre Dawson in 1991 (31 HR, 104 RBI, age 36), Fred McGriff in 2002 (30 HR, 103 RBI, age 38) and Moises Alou in 2004 (39 HR, 106 RBI, age 37).
Just five Cubs have reached 100 RBIs in a season, age 36 or older, since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920. Besides the four players listed, 38-year-old Ernie Banks had 106 RBIs in 1969.
Soriano has 99 RBIs, his most in a single-season in his six years with the Cubs, and most since collecting a career-high 104 RBIs with the Rangers in 2005. Soriano’s 29 home runs are his most in a campaign since hitting 29 in 2008. He hit 33 in 2007.
– Carrie Muskat