Soriano Sliding Again

The Cubs' offense as a whole has been a concern all season, and left fielder Alfonso Soriano has become an extreme concern once again.

After a decent July, Soriano has fallen on hard times again in August. He is 11-for-70 (.157) for the month, and he has not hit a home run since July 29.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella has been patient with Soriano. In July, Piniella moved Soriano out of the leadoff spot and into the sixth spot. That worked, but only for a while.

"Invariably, you have to start hitting at some point," Piniella said Friday.

Maybe. Maybe not. One theory that's been kicked around is that Soriano needs to use a lighter bat, especially at his age (33) and it being late in the season.

So far, Soriano isn't considering a lighter load with the bat.

DODGERS 2, CUBS 1: The Cubs offense managed just one hit against L.A. lefty Randy Wolf. SS Ryan Theriot hit an RBI single in the third after Wolf drove in two with a double in the second. RHP Randy Wells worked 6 2/3 innings for the Cubs, giving up two unearned runs.

NOTES

--RHP Carlos Marmol finished his first game since being named the Cubs' closer after this past Monday's loss in San Diego, where Kevin Gregg blew a save. The Cubs were trailing when Marmol pitched against the Dodgers, but he worked a scoreless bottom of the eighth, giving up one hit.

--LHP Tom Gorzelanny will go to the bullpen with RHP Carlos Zambrano coming off the DL next Tuesday to pitch against Washington. RHP Rich Harden and Wells will follow Zambrano in the Washington series. In four starts since coming over in July 30 trade with Pittsburgh, Gorzelanny is 2-1 with a 4.82 ERA. He'll join John Grabow and Sean Marshall as lefties in the pen.

--Wells turned in his 14th quality start of the season and lowered his ERA from 3.01 to 2.84 in falling to 9-6. Wells had won five of his last six starts.

--RF Milton Bradley was 0-for-4, and he is 2-for-18 on the road trip. The Cubs are 3-9 with Bradley batting second.

--2B Jeff Baker was 0-for-3 with a strikeout as his career-best 10-game hitting streak ended. Baker was 18-for-40 (.450) during the streak.

--C Geovany Soto was 0-for-3, as his average fell to .217. Soto is 2-for-15 on the road trip. Last year's Rookie of the Year in the NL has seen his playing time reduced significantly as Piniella gives increased time to backup Koyie Hill.

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