Starting Soler pays off with homer in Game 3
Cubs outfielder returns to lineup, slugs game-tying solo shot off deGrom
CHICAGO -- There were no Fahrenheit problems Tuesday for Jorge Soler, who was back in the Cubs' lineup and made his manager look prophetic when he hit a tying home run in the fourth inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, which the Cubs ended up losing, 5-2.
Soler has not fared well in the cold and was 1-for-4 in Game 1. He did not play in Game 2, partly because Chris Coghlan had success against Mets starter Noah Syndergaard and partly because it was 45 degrees at game time and felt even colder.
"He's the guy who can put the ball in the seats," Maddon said before the game of Soler, who was 4-for-7 with two home runs in the NL Division Series against the Cardinals.
About 4 1/2 hours later, that's just what Soler did. He hit a 96 mph fastball from Mets starter Jacob deGrom to the bleachers in center field for a 2-2 tie.
In the regular season, Soler batted .262 with 10 home runs in 101 games and was limited because of injuries. In the postseason, he's looked like a veteran, not a rookie.
"From what I'm hearing, what we're seeing now fits the original projections," Maddon said. "He's a scout's dream. The last couple weeks, he's been playing to that level. He's young and making adjustments culturally. Professionally, he lacks the experience. There's not many guys who have that kind of power. We have to be a little patient and bring it out of him."