Two prominent former Nationals met tonight in the third and possibly final game of the Best of Five NL Division Series between Livan Hernandez's Arizona Diamondbacks and Alfonso Soriano's Chicago Cubs. Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois is the site for Game Three after two out west which the D-Backs took to leave the Cubs looking to stave off elimination in their first Postseason appearance since 2003.
Livan Hernandez is pitching in his first Postseason game in five years, when a then twenty-seven year old Hernandez went 0-2 in two World Series starts for San Francisco, with a 14.29 ERA in 5.2 innings, during which he allowed 9 runs on 9 hits with 9 walks in a series the Giants eventually lost to the LA Angels of Anaheim.
In between playoff appearances, Livan Hernandez pitched parts of four seasons with Montreal and DC, collecting a (50-43) record with the franchise, and completing 19 games, while also hitting 19 doubles and 5 home runs.
The Slow-Pitch Artist formerly known as Mr National Himself Livan Hernandez held the Cubs to 1 run through 6.0 innings off work tonight, over which Hernandez allowed only 5 hits and 5 walks while striking out five and leaving the Cubs down 4-1 when he exited the game after 101 pitches, only 54 of which were strikes.
Alfonso Soriano, the reluctant left fielder who played one truly memorably season in DC, parlayed the years' work into an 8-year, $136 million dollar free agent deal with Chicago which will have the right-handed power-hitter patroling the outfield in front of the Ivy in Wrigley until 2015.
But what a year 2006 was in DC for Soriano, a .277 batting average, 41 doubles, 5 triples, 46 HR's, 95 RBI's, and 41 steals to become only the fourth player in baseball history to enter the rather exclusive 40/40 Club in a year in which the once-reluctant outfielder was tested and came through with 22 outfield assists to add a defensive category in founding his own even-more exclusive 40/40/20 club.
In his first season in Chicago, Soriano struggled early with injuries, but put together a season of 42 doubles, 33 HR's and 19 steals with a .299 AVG in 135 games for the Cubbies, who came on late to win their first division title in four years and give Soriano his first Postseason appearance since 2003 with NY.
Soriano and the Cubs didn't fare any better against D-Backs bullpen than they did against Livan Hernandez tonight though, as Arizona took their third straight 4-1, to sweep the series from the Cubs. Soriano went 0-4 and left 3 on base in Game Three to leave him 2-14 in the series or a .143 BA overall with no extra base hits and 0 RBI's in the three games which the Cubs lost by a combined score of 16-6. Maybe next year Cursed-Cubbies...
What's this I hear about Chicago and A-Rod?
Good Luck to Livan and the D-Backs, who might just be facing their NL West rival Colorado Rockies, who at the time of this posting are leading 2-1 in the 8th with Philadelphia in a series the Rockies lead 2-0.