Six years before he ever won a home run title, seven before he won a RBI crown, Albert Pujols won a batting title with a .359 average in 2003. It was perhaps the greatest all-around season I’ve ever seen a hitter have (he also had 43 homers, 137 runs, 51 doubles, and 124 RBI), and it set the expectation that this guy, in his third MLB season, would be an annual threat to vie for the Triple Crown.
A career .327 batter, number five is known as a line drive hitter whose lasers often find the seats. So, why is it that the baseball media is suddenly treating him like a home run hitter who sometimes keeps it in the park? Albert Pujols finally has a number greater than zero in the home run column and his slump is over? From the way ESPN has covered his first bomb you’d think the Angels signed Mark Reynolds (a career .236 hitter who averages 30+ HR/year) last December.
After last night’s 0-for-4 Albert’s batting average rests at .190. That’s two points higher than Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn’s .188 mark. So, what the hell has happened to The Machine?! Seriously! Could this guy with a .190 average, 1 homer, and 9 RBI heading into mid-May really be the same who had 11 consecutive seasons of .299+, 30+ homers, 30+ doubles, and 99+ RBI?
Up until now I found some pleasure in knowing that the Cardinals weren’t missing out on anything. I don’t think I’m alone in that among the members of Cardinal Nation, and I don’t think it’s all too surprising. After all, no one wants to hear that their ex-girlfriend is doing better without them. At the same time, no one wants to hear that she’s now blowing people in an alley for crack cocaine, either. So, Albert… will you please get up and start hitting the ball again? It’s gotten so bad that I can’t even enjoy it anymore.