Soriano out six weeks
For the second straight season, Alfonso Soriano is going to miss a tremendous amount of time due to a freak injury. Last year, the Fonz injured his leg while hustling for third. This year, he'll be out for more than a month after suffering from a broken hand on what may have been a bean ball.
So much for the advantage of a St. Louis team without Albert Pujols.
Unlike his leg injury of last year, which merely cost him his speed, Soriano's injury is likely going to effect his production for the rest of the season. Much as Derrek Lee wasn't the same after breaking his wrist a few years back, it's likely that when the Fonz returns, he won't be coming back with his homerun swing.
Well, silver lining - maybe he'll be a better leadoff guy if he can't rely on hitting homeruns.
Minus the silver lining - the Cubs are in for a rough six weeks; this may very well be the test of who they are as a team. They are complete enough to win even without Soriano, or at least, that's what I keep telling myself. But the objectives have changed - where before the Cubs were perhaps a 100-win team, we now have to lower our expectations. If they can exhibit even a .500 record in the next six weeks, we'll have to be satisfied. If they perform worse than that, we'll have to accept that they could and should get better when he returns. And while Jim Edmonds and his offensive production was before a luxery, it now becomes a necessity - the Cubs will need him to step up and perform while Soriano recovers.
All that said, the Cubs are well on their way to winning again tonight, and they could and should sweep the Braves tomorrow. But, as I mentioned not too long ago, they have an incredibly rough stretch of games coming up. 2008, which until recently looked very, very easy, just got stressful.