Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee may be the two hottest Cubs in the lineup right now. Lee has hit in seven straight games–not that it’s a blistering pace (9-31)–and Alfonso Soriano homered twice Tuesday night to give the Cubs enough to get by the Pirates.
Ted Lilly kept the Pirates quiet most of the night. He allowed just one run (a solo shot by Ryan Doumit in the fifth) on six hits and struck out five–including Ryan Church with two on and two out to end the seventh. The best comment on Lilly at the end of the night came from Ryan Theriot. When asked how surprised he was at Lilly’s consistency he said, “Not at all. That’s what he does. That’s what Ted’s done the last… You know, Ted’s been that pitcher since he’s been here. I hate to say it but that’s kind of what I’ve grown to expect from him because he’s been so consistent and so good for us.”
More compliments abounded for the other hero of the night, Alfonso Soriano, who had some interesting comments when asked how he finds motivation to play hard. “There’s two guys on the team that make me [play hard],” Soriano said. “Marlon Byrd, I like how he plays–hard all the time and diving to the ball and running hard. And young [Starlin] Castro. Those two guys… that’s what I try to do. I see Castro very young and Marlon play hard and I want to do the same.”
Soriano also shared his thoughts on leadership on a team of 25. When asked if he’s trying to be more of a leader this year, Soriano responded, “Not really. I not believe in leaders. I believe in just, like, come everyday to the ballpark and working hard and play hard and try to make the team better and try to win. … We have 25 players on the team so, I think everybody is part of the team. I [don’t] believe in one leader. I think the 25 guys on the team is the leader.”