The Cardinals are riding a great streak of winning baseball! Heading into today’s game (Thursday the 27th) they’ve won four straight, are 20 games over .500 and basically have the Central Division in their back pocket. But has anybody noticed that Albert Pujols isn’t very good right now? Because of his great first half numbers, we don’t notice that since July 18th he has been ‘just a player’.
He hasn’t been great, amazing, spectacular, incredible, stunning or even really good. In the first game after the all-star break ‘El Hombre’ blasted two homeruns and his batting average stood at .334. He had 34 homeruns, 89 RBIs and his slugging percentage was .666. IOW, Albert was dominating baseball in a unique and dramatic way.
Since July 18th (36 games) Pujols is batting .280 with six bombs and 18 driven in. Still decent numbers for a mortal, but we’re talking about Albert Pujols here!!! Is he hurt? He’s been hit by seven pitches this season, with three of them coming in August, so is he dinged up or even flinching a bit?
His spectacular numbers coming out of the All-Star game hide how ‘normal’ he’s been since then. All players have slumps and an Albert Pujols slump is still a lot better than anybody else’s. But the question, “what can the Cardinals do in post-season with a depleted Pujols?” Is Albert just gassed and should manager Tony La Russa give him some extended time off?
Since July 17th, his gawdy slugging percentage of .740 has dropped to .666. His on base percentage is off by 17 points he just isn’t driving the ball. The average is down, the power diminished and strike outs are up. Right now, everybody’s favorite player is just not himself.
With the division race all but settled, shouldn’t Albert take some time off. Rest the legs, rest the elbow, rest the mind bib fella! We need you in October because this Albert Pujols won’t carry the Cards to another World Series win, but a rested and refreshed on just might!