Streaking/Slumping: Soriano powers on

Alfonso Soriano has heated up the past month while Ian Stewart has yet to find his stroke. US Presswire


1. Ryan Dempster, P: The National League Player of the Week was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, and he allowed just seven hits in his two starts during 15 innings of work. The veteran starter, who can be a free agent at the end of the season, has as high a market value as any hurler available for trade. The White Sox would be the ideal team for Dempster, who has the right to say no to any deal. Staying in Chicago would mean that he would not have to leave his young children for the last three months of the season.

2. Alfonso Soriano, LF: Yet another solid week for the gimpy outfielder, whose 12 home runs are the most in baseball since May 15. He batted .357 with four home runs and nine RBIs for the week. The favorite teammate of many Cub players has opened the eyes of some American League teams who need a designated hitter. That team may only have to pay a small portion of the $49 million still owed Soriano. He and Dempster should get the strongest consideration for the All Star team even though their numbers are impacted by a sub–par team result.


1. Jeff Samardzija, P: He had his worst week of the season, lasting only 8 2/3 innings in two starts. The lack of a good breaking ball over that period may be a wake-up call for him. Samardzija allowed 16 hits and 10 earned runs in his week of work. Samardzija has always been quick to adjust to coaches’ tips on pitch selection. Next time around he needs to get some solid direction from his catchers as well. Throwing 188 pitches in 8 2/3 innings is not getting it done in this sample size of the season.

2. Ian Stewart, 3B: A frustrating player to watch who seems to have a world of talent, Stewart is getting very little production out of his skills. An excellent defensive third baseman, he has just one RBI in his last 10 games. Stewart has one extra base hit in his last week of play, striking out 11 times. Maybe the Josh Vitters era (batting .269 at Triple-A Iowa) will begin sooner than we think. The Cubs have no commitment to Stewart after this season.