Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano has homered in three consecutive games and raised his batting average to .325 with a recent hot stretch.
As Alfonso Soriano walked to the plate in the sixth inning of the Cubs’
10-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday, the crowd rose as one
to give the left fielder a rousing standing ovation.
This, of course, was in stark contrast to the treatment he received last
homestand when the Wrigley Field faithful serenaded him with a chorus
An offensive explosion will do that to a crowd.
With his two-homer, four-RBI day in the series finale, Soriano continued
his recent torrid hitting streak that has seen him go from public enemy
No. 1 at Clark and Addison to seemingly everyone’s favorite Cub.
“What a nice day he had,” said manager Lou Piniella, whose team reached
.500 after taking the final three games against Arizona. “His at-bats
were all really good and productive. He really looks locked in at home
Soriano has driven in 10 runs over the Cubs’ last three games and his
24th career multi-homer game was the third consecutive contest in which
he’s gone deep. For Piniella, it was the swings he didn’t take that
revealed the most.
“Today, he took pitches really, really well,” he said. “For me, that’s a
good tell-tale sign of hitter. When you can take pitches out of the
strike zone, to me, it means you’re seeing the ball really well and
you’re staying on it.”
A notorious free swinger, Soriano has been working with hitting coach
Rudy Jaramillo to keep the lower half of his body calm. The recent
results speak for themselves.
“That’s a major difference,” Piniella said. “You can see that he’s
seeing the ball much better because he’s not chasing. He’s zoning in.”
“I feel very comfortable at home plate,” Soriano said. “I’m a better
hitter when I swing at strikes. Rudy works a lot with me. I’m working
hard with him in the cage and I feel so comfortable at home plate
because of the work I do with him.”
A day after first baseman Derrek Lee suggested that Soriano’s injury
problems last year were much more severe than most people realized, the
red-hot left fielder seemed more content to enjoy the moment than dwell
on the past.
“I don’t like to make excuses in this game” he said. “Whatever happened
last year, it was 2009. Now it’s 2010 and I’m happy the way I play and
happy the way my body feels today.”