Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Soriano's 'Unbelievable' Turnaround Is Highly Suspicious

It looks like Major League Baseball might be up to its old tricks again.

Pennant races have materialized out of nowhere many times in the past, and there could be another one brewing in the American League East now that the Yankees have acquired Alfonso Soriano.

Follwing are some details from an AP article published on Sunday, Aug. 18:

In his last four games through Friday night’s win at Boston, the 37-year-old Soriano went 13-for-18 with five homers and a record-tying 18 RBIs, becoming just the sixth player to drive in that many during that span.

The Yankees acquired Soriano in a trade with the Chicago Cubs in late July, bringing him back to the organization where he began his major league career in 1999.
“It’s fun to watch the way he’s adjusted right away,” Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano said. “He was in the National League for six years and to come back to the American League and swing the bat the way he is, is unbelievable, especially right when we need him.”

Soriano became the first player with 18 RBIs in four games since Sammy Sosa of the Cubs in August 2002. Before that, it was the Yankees Joe DiMaggio in 1939.

The Yankees acquired Soriano to boost a struggling lineup that was injury-riddled and looked nothing like last year’s team that led the majors with 245 homers. At the time of the deal, they were next to last in the AL with 88 homers.
In one four-game stretch, he has them thinking about how well they can play. The Yankees are chasing a wild-card spot. With the Cubs, Soriano was on a team that had one of the worst records in the NL.

The season didn’t start well for Soriano. He didn’t collect his 18th RBI until the 47th game, getting just two in 26 April games.
Soriano hit .254 with 17 homers with 51 RBIs with the Cubs. Going into Saturday, he was hitting .320 with eight homers and 26 RBIs for the Yankees. He had 397 career home runs.
On Friday night, in a win over the Red Sox, he hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs. It was New York’s fifth win in six games.
“It’s like he’s playing slow-pitch softball,” Rodriguez said following Friday’s win.
Maybe that analogy isn't too far off the mark. When a pitcher deliberately grooves a gopher ball to a hitter, it's almost like hitting a softball. And just maybe, A-Roid was letting on that he knows something's not on the level about the whole thing.
Perhaps Major League Baseball wants the Yankees to get back in the pennant race, the way they did in 1978, when they rallied from a 14-game deficit in July to overtake the Red Sox and win the pennant in a one-game playoff.
At any rate, Soriano's sizzling start with the Yankees is highly suspicious, considering his abysmal play in Chicago and the fact that he's now playing in a new league against pitchers he's never faced before.

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