Cubs TV commentator Bob Brenly, a former major-league manager, called second baseman Alfonso Soriano "selfish" for not running out a fly ball he thought was a home run in Monday's series-opening loss to the Mets. When Soriano was told of the criticism, he responded by saying he didn't care what anyone said or wrote because his teammates know he only cares about winning.

However, manager Lou Piniella called him in for a talk and later told the Chicago Tribune: "I have talked about it to Alfonso, and you know what? Sometimes, habits are hard to break."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Soriano's attitude by the manager.

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Going into tonight's game, the Cubs are batting only .195 in road games and averaging 2.4 runs per game. Of the few Cubs who have faced Mets starter Oliver Perez at least 10 times, Aramis Ramirez has performed best with a .333 average in 12 at-bats. At the same time, the Cubs are concerned about a slump that has seen Ramirez bat only .145 this season while striking out 19 times. He had only 43 strikeouts all last season in 306 at-bats.

Mets hitters who have fared best against Cubs starter Carlos Silva are Alex Cora (.400, 8 for 20) and Frank Catalanotto (.300, 6 for 20)…Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee leads the majors in working to a 3-2 count with 24, and Mets third baseman David Wright is fourth with 18…Cubs relief pitcher Jeff Samardzjia, who allowed three runs (one earned) and failed to get an out in his appearance Monday night, has an ERA of 18.90. Samardzjia was a terrific wide receiver at Notre Dame who would have been a high draft pick had he not declared his preference for baseball early. Can he still get into Thursday's NFL Draft?