Thursday, June 18, 2009
Updated: June 19, 12:42 PM ET
Lou Piniella hinted after Wednesday's game that changes might be on the way, but Alfonso Soriano and his .225 average are back in the lineup today batting first.
Why Piniella won't give his left fielder a day off is beyond me. Soriano is 2-for-24 over his last six games and has seen his average drop almost 100 points over the last month. He is hurting the team much more than he's helping it at this point. To Soriano's credit, he stood by his locker after Wednesday's loss and answered every question that reporters threw at him. He said that while he doesn't want to take a day off, he'd understand whatever decision Piniella wanted to make. "I don't know want kind of move he wants to make," Soriano said. "He's the manager, he's smart, he knows what he has to do to try and make this team better."
Soriano also re-affirmed what he's said numerous times this season -- he is OK with moving down in the order. If he truly was though, why would Piniella continue to stick him there? The argument has always been that Soriano feels more comfortable in the leadoff spot, but at this point, what does Piniella have to lose by moving him down?
The good news for Lou is that his left fielder doesn't sound like he's lost any confidence in his ability,"I think I need one or two hits in one game and I'll be fine," he said on Wednesday.
Still, even Soriano's opponents are surprised at the way he's been struggling this year. "Soriano, [Geovany] Soto, you look up, I haven't really paid much attention, but you look up, I never thought I'd see Soriano hitting what he's hitting, especially this late," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski told me after Wednesday's game.
The interesting part is that Pierzynski, of all people, still thinks Soriano and Soto will be able to turn things around. "[Soriano's] a great player, a great hitter. Soto with the year he had last year, I'm amazed to see [what he's doing] because he's a great player, I mean rookie of the year, almost MVP, he had a great year for them last year. I know he did a lot of damage against us, too. So yeah, you're always shocked when you see guys that aren't doing what they [usually do], because you expect them to go out and do what they do every year. Sometimes you hit some balls hard and they don't work out. Those guys are gonna be fine. [At the] end of the year you'll look up and their numbers will be where they're supposed to be."
For once, Cubs fans are hoping that Pierzynski is right.