If everybody stays healthy, we have a good chance to accomplish something great here.
We didn't get the result we wanted in the postseason last year, but that translated into motivation for this year. We knew we had talent and opportunity last season, but it didn't work out. This year, we're back in the winning mindset, and I like our chances.
Our lineup is one of the best I've been a part of. We're very balanced from top to bottom, with guys who can hit for power and guys who use the whole field to get on base. Our lineup compares well to the lineups from some of the Yankees teams I was on at the beginning of my big league career.
We might not have the national recognition as those Yankees teams had, but there's a lot of talent on this team.
You could easily make the argument that Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee make up one of the top 3-4 combinations in the league. They're both very good hitters and very crucial to the team. They're our main sources of power, so responsibility lies upon them to bring runners home. The rest of us know that if we do our job by getting on base, Aramis and Derrek will usually take care of the rest.
Kosuke Fukudome has brought a lot to our lineup, too. He's a very good hitter and a very patient hitter. He's been a great addition. He can hit for power at times, and he can hit for average.
Personally, I like batting in the leadoff spot. I had to adjust to batting leadoff earlier in my career, but it's something I've grown to really like. I think Lou Piniella likes having me in that spot, too.
As a leadoff hitter, I don't really keep track of the number of leadoff home runs I hit. The important part of my job is getting in the pitcher's head -- getting on base, maybe stealing a base, moving up and scoring a run. It gives you a distinct advantage to put a run on the scoreboard when the pitcher has only thrown a few pitches. It can unnerve the pitcher and give your team a good boost.
Alfonso Soriano, a six-time All-Star who broke in with the Yankees as a second baseman in 1999, is having another standout season with the Cubs. Despite a broken bone in his left hand that kept him on the disabled list from June 12 through July 22, Soriano has 22 home runs this season. He's hit at least 28 homers in each season since 2002.