The Chicago Cubs hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 16, 2012. The Cubs won 13-9. The Cubs have defeated the Pirates in five of their past six games. With a 58-88 record, the Cubs can avoid the dreaded 100-loss season if they win five of their final 16 games.
The headline story from this game was Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo went 3-for-5 with six RBIs and two home runs. When the Cubs were down 9-6 in the sixth inning, Rizzo crushed his first career grand slam homer. Since his promotion in late-June, Rizzo has a .300 batting average with 14 home runs.
There's another story that deserves recognition. During the first inning, Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI single. This was his 100th RBI of the season. He added another RBI when he hit a RBI double in the eighth inning. For the entire game, Soriano went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and one run.
At age 36, the $136-million outfielder is having one of the best seasons of his career. In 2005, Soriano had 104 RBIs with the Texas Rangers. With four more RBIs, Soriano can reach a new career high. Since joining the Cubs in 2007, Soriano has never hit more than 88 RBIs in any season.
Soriano has been more than just a run producer. His .822 on-base-plus slugging percentage (OPS) is on par with his career .828 OPS. Even more surprising is that Soriano has been a reliable defensive outfielder. Soriano has committed only one error in 240 chances. Having consistently been one of the most-unreliable defensive outfielders, Soriano has been considered for the Gold Glove award along with teammate Darwin Barney.
What Soriano has accomplished is pretty remarkable when one considers that he has battled knee injuries this season. He could have easily quit on this team amidst all the trade controversies and lack of competitiveness. He could have joined a pennant contender. Yet, he's still here.
The media and fans have given him a lot of negative commentary over the past few seasons, myself included. I can't say anything about him this year though. He has played very well. The Cubs will face a tough challenge when they try to replace his numbers in the lineup.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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