July 6, 2013 by Ryan S
My oh my, when Alfonso Soriano hits the ball, he hits the ball very, very well. The Cubs beat the Pirates 4-1 today at Wrigley Field, and Soriano drove in all four runs on two homers in the fourth and fifth innings, Sat. afternoon.
Soriano is on a tear, hitting .286 with five homers and 13 RBI in his past 10 games. Why, hey there, trade value. Nice to see you, again. With his recent hot streak, Soriano sits at a .256 average with 12 home runs and 43 RBI on the season. Among American League designated hitter qualifiers, this ranks Soriano third in average and second in RBI. Just saying.
As for the other players (because apparently there were some), Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.50 ERA) pitched pretty well, going 5.2 innings and only surrendering one run on four hits and two walks. Pirates starter Charlie Morton (1-2, 3.38 ERA) pitched pretty well himself aside from the two Soriano blasts that he surrendered.
Also, I was very pleased to see Dale Sveum remove him when he did, as I’ve often been a critic of how long Sveum sticks with starters that seem to be getting tired.
The bullpen even pitched well today! Matt Guerrier made me bite my tongue as he pitched very well in his second appearance with the Cubs, allowing no base runners and striking out two in two innings pitched. James Russell struck out Pedro Alvarez as the only batter that he faced this afternoon, and his breaking ball looked like it showed a little more life than it had been showing in the past couple weeks. And then Kevin Gregg did Kevin Gregg things as he notched his 15th save of the season for a nice Cubbies win.
The Cubs had seven hits and walked four times again today, so that’s always good to see. The only bad thing that I can say about the game today is that, damn, the Pirates run on the Cubs a lot. And Starling Marte is really, really quick.
My grades for the game are as follows:
- Hitting: B. Seven hits and four walks. Only four Cubs got a hit, and Alfonso Soriano is the hero today.
- Pitching: B+. Edwin Jackson tossed one of his best starts of the season and the bullpen was great in the home win over the Buccos.
- Base running: A. No major base running gaffes today, and Julio Borbon stole two bases. Good stuff, guys.
- Defense: A. No errors, and the Cubs fielded a pretty solid game behind E-Jax today.
In all honesty, yesterday’s Cubs and today’s Cubs are two very different teams. Consistency has eluded them all season, that’s no secret. But if I had watched this game today without any knowledge of which team was better, I would have guessed that the Cubs were the division leading team and the Pirates the cellar dwellers.
Such is life. The rubber match is tomorrow and features Carlos Villanueva (2-4, 3.45 ERA) in his return to the rotation vs. AJ Burnett (4-6, 3.12 ERA). Start time is 2:20 PM ET/1:20 PM CT. That’s it for now guys and as always, go Cubs!