The left fielder had gone six games without an extra-base hit before getting a double and three-run homer in Friday’s 11-5 victory for Chicago (11-13), the fourth time in 10 games the Cubs have scored eight or more runs after doing so only once in their first 14.
Additionally, Soriano has grown comfortable in the No. 6 spot in the lineup, and has gone 18 for 51 in his last 16 games to more than double his average to .292.
“That’s more important for me right now,” Soriano said about feeling comfortable as opposed to hitting homers. “I’m very selective at home plate. When I swing at strikes, I hit the ball hard.”
Haren (3-1, 4.50 ERA) has been able to tell when Soriano has been focused at the plate. He is 7 for 21 with three homers and three doubles lifetime against the right-hander, and while Soriano may not have offered an opinion on his play of late, his teammates sense a difference from last year when he batted .241.
Byrd, who had a solo homer Friday, is 7 for 13 with one double and one triple against Haren.
The Diamondbacks ace, though, has a little swagger of his own heading into Wrigley Field looking to win his third consecutive start. Haren is coming off his strongest outing of the season, allowing two runs in a season-high eight innings while striking out a season-best 10 in a 5-3 win at Colorado on Monday.
“The strikeouts have come in bunches,” he said. “I haven’t felt that great in any particular outing this year, but it seems the strikeouts are always in there. It tells me that my stuff is just fine.”
Haren is also 7 for 15 at the plate this year, hitting safely in his last four starts.
Carlos Silva(notes) (2-0, 1.73) will try to prevent the Diamondbacks (11-12) from climbing back to .500 as this four-game series continues. The right-hander has been effective and efficient since joining the Cubs via an offseason trade, lasting at least six innings in each of his four starts while throwing no more than 91 pitches.
Silva yielded three runs in seven innings Monday against Washington before the Cubs posted a 4-3 victory in 10 innings. He is 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in six appearances - including one start - lifetime versus Arizona, but is facing the Diamondbacks for the first time since 2004 while pitching for Minnesota.