The Cubs lost to the Diamondbacks 3-1 Thursday night in Phoenix -- they've still won just one series there since 2010 -- but all you want to talk about is the Alfonso Soriano trade, right? All of the news about the deal started to break right about the time the Cubs were taking batting practice Thursday night -- in fact, read this:
Theo told Sveum an hour ago. Deal to be done soon. Sori taking BP right now.— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) July 25, 2013
A strange end to Soriano's Cubs career. You can imagine the team wasn't really focused on the game after that, right? Check out this quote from Darwin Barney about Soriano's goodbye to his teammates:
"He couldn't get much out, it was short and sweet," Darwin Barney said of the goodbye. "There's not much that needs to be said. Everybody knows the kind of influence he has on the young guys here and the kind of influence he's always had. He's always been a leader, even though he never tells anybody what to do. He never says much in that kind of regard, where a leader would, but he definitely was the leader of this ballclub. It's going to be tough."
Sums it up, I think, very well. I'll have more on the Soriano Era in Cubs history -- and unlike some posts when I make a joking headline that we're entering such-and-such era, the six-and-two-thirds years that Alfonso Soriano was a Cub really was a well-defined time in the history of this franchise, and worth a look back.
The game? Carlos Villanueva slogged through a 37-pitch first inning and was lucky to be behind only 1-0. He left after five innings, giving up six hits, three walks and three runs. You've seen this before from Cubs starters. The Cubs finally scored a run in the seventh on a pair of doubles by Nate Schierholtz and Welington Castillo. The Cubs had four doubles on the night; they're up to 204 on the season, and that's a pace for 330. They've still got a shot at the team record of 340, set in 1931 and tied in 2007... which, of course, was the first year Alfonso Soriano was a Cub.
Soriano had 42 doubles that year, his most as a Cub, despite missing 27 games with various injuries. The injuries, unfortunately, defined his career as a Cub as much as his performance on the field. Again, I'll have more on Soriano later this morning, as the deal isn't officially done, although he's already headed east:
The two teams did manage to get Thursday night's game in under the three-hour mark (barely, at 2:52). So there's that, anyway.
Meanwhile, the Cubs will indeed carry on. They're headed to face a team that has had many troubles of its own this season, after coming off a World Series title last year. Perhaps the new-look Cubs can take advantage of that.