Cubs need boost at top from Soriano
When leadoff hitter performs well, Chicago's offense benefits
CHICAGO -- The Cubs were 69-36 this season in games in which Alfonso Soriano batted leadoff. They need him to kick-start the club in the postseason, too.
Soriano went 0-for-5 in Wednesday night's 7-2 loss to the Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, and he has a .205 career average in the Division Series.
"You know, the leadoff hitter sets the tone in a way for the offense," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said, "and when Soriano hits the ball well and has a good offensive game, our club responds. But to say if he doesn't do that, we shouldn't score runs, that's not true."
Soriano missed more than six weeks this season because of injuries, yet he still finished with a .280 average with 29 homers and 75 RBIs. But does he feel any pressure in the series?
"Not really," Soriano said. "I just want to do my job. If I concentrate in the game, I'll see a good pitch. If I see a strike, I'll hit the ball hard."
The plan is to be selective, yet also aggressive, Soriano said. Piniella felt the team shouldered responsibility, not just one player.
"You can always point the finger wherever you want, but it's a team game," Piniella said. "Just because one guy struggles or two guys struggle, other people can pick it up. Obviously, you look for your big people to do special things, but I've always been of the school of thought that baseball is an individual game, but boy, I'll tell you what, it's a team game."
Derrek Lee was 1-for-3 in Game 1, but he was forced out at second on a double play in the third and grounded into a double play in the fifth. The Cubs didn't do too well offensively against the Dodgers' Derek Lowe.
"We've been worse," Lee said, "but we've been a lot better. Last night was their night."
Soriano wasn't too worried about losing Game 1 of the best-of-five series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"There's nothing we can do about last night," he said. "Today's a new day."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.