Alfonso Soriano, who hit 46 home runs and stole 41 bases for Washington last year, will not come close to those numbers this year. But the Cubs left fielder, who inked an eight-year, $136 million deal during the offseason, has already made some history in his first year with the club.
Alfonso Soriano, who hit 46 home runs and stole 41 bases for Washington last year, will not come close to those numbers this year.
He has 32 homers and 19 stolen bases heading into the final game of the regular season against Cincinnati today.
But the Cubs left fielder, who inked an eight-year, $136 million deal during the offseason, has already made some history in his first year with the club.
In September, he hit homers on six occasions to lead off games. That’s the most for a major league hitter in any month. He has 11 leadoff homers for the season, two behind the all-time major league mark he set in 2003 with the New York Yankees.
When it comes to leading off a game, he said he doesn’t take any special approach.
“It’s the same -- first at-bat, last at-bat -- it’s the same,” Soriano said.
“I always put it in my mind at home plate to be aggressive and swing at strikes.”
Soriano also has 13 homers in September, tying Ernie Banks (1957) for the most by a Cub in that particular month.
While his stolen-base total isn’t all that impressive, Soriano has made up for it with his golden arm in left field. He has racked up 19 outfield assists this season, which is the most for a Cub since Hank Sauer had 19 in 1944.
Mack on hold
Former Brother Rice standout Pete Mackanin, the interim manager of the Reds, might not find out for a while if Cincinnati wants to bring him back.
Mackanin took over July 2 after Jerry Narron was fired. Mackanin had a 40-38 mark heading into Saturday’s play after the team went 31-51 under Narron.
“Pete’s done a great job,” Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’m a big Pete Mackanin fan. We’re going to let him know if he’s in. We’re going to let him know at the appropriate time.”
No cable? Out of luck
Cubs and WGN-TV officials are bracing for some backlash over the availability of the National League Division Series on regular TV.
In past years, when a cable channel would broadcast a postseason game, the home cities of the teams involved would have rights to broadcast it over a free channel.
But there is a new TV deal in place, and Turner Broadcasting has the exclusive rights to the NLDS games. Those who want to watch the Cubs on free TV this week will be out of luck and should make alternate plans to view the game.
Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano thinks the Cubs’ defense could lead this team deep into the playoffs.
“No doubt,” he said. “You need good defense in every sport. Baseball. Football. Soccer. You could see the Bears last year. They had good defense and they went to the (Super Bowl). We have a good defense. We have veterans.
We have (Gold glover Derrek) Lee.”
Lost in the excitement of Friday’s clinching of the NL Central title was that manager Lou Piniella moved into sole possession of 15th place on the all-time wins list with 1,603. Ralph Houk is 14th with 1,619. ... The Cubs will host a free rally on Monday at the Daley Plaza from noon-12:45 p.m. Cubs players will be on the road and will not participate.