Got to wonder if Alfonso Soriano’s game-winning home run against the Reds last night is his last as a Chicago Cub?
He’s played exceptionally well since resting his tired legs during the All Star break (.279/.319/.581 – 5 HR, 18 RBI), at least well enough to entice a contending team to trade for him this month.
That would obviously be a huge plus for Chicago, but Soriano’s hefty contract ($18M through 2014) and no-trade clause does make it a bit tricky for the Cubs to find the right suitor, as was the case at the non-waiver trade deadline.
That said, there’s still a handful of contenders in need of an offensive upgrade for the stretch run, and but few players available are performing as well as Soriano.
WAS THERE SOMETHING MORE TO SORIANO’S HR?
I’m also wondering if Logan Ondrusek unintentionally lit a fire under Soriano when the pitcher’s apparent irritation with the Wrigley Field mound conditions drew the grounds crew out to manicure the bump in the middle of Soriano’s at-bat?
The entire game to that point had been played under rainy conditions, not once being halted mid-contest to landscape the diamond, and now suddenly the game needed to be interrupted?
Soriano followed by manicuring an Ondrusek pitch into the juniper bushes for the game-winning hit. Nothing quite like a walk in the park after some unnecessary field maintenance ;)
SORIANO MOVING UP CUBS ALL-TIME HR LIST
That bomb marks the eleventh straight season Alfonso has hit at least 20 home runs. Pretty darn impressive.
It’s also his 152 career home run with Chicago, good for 13th place on the franchise’s all-time home run list. Andre Dawson is next with 174.
Billy Williams, who sang the seventh inning stretch yesterday evening (and added a nice tribute to Ron Santo beforehand) is third all-time with 392. Ernie Banks’ 512 dingers ranks second behind the one and only, Sammy Sosa’s 545.
CUBS IN FULL SPOILER MODE
The lowly Cubs, losers of eight-straight, appeared to be the cure-all medicine to the Reds four-game losing skid entering last night’s contest.
Instead, the Cubs 5-3 win was a bitter pill to swallow for Cincinnati, whose losing skid extended to a season-high five-straight games.
With the two clubs squaring off eight times in the next 10 days, including last night, fewer than six total wins over the two series is simply unacceptable for a Reds team fighting tooth and nail for a division title.
There’s only eight weeks left in the season and the Pirates and Cardinals won’t feel sorry the Reds are without Joey Votto.
Cincinnati has one more series left against Chicago in September in addition to six more games against Houston, the worst team in baseball. The Reds couldn’t wish for a more favorable schedule to distance itself from Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
So as insignificant as this series appears for the Cubs, if they can do further damage against the Reds in the coming days it could very well be the telling stretch Cincinnati looks back on if they fail to win the NL Central.