With an afternoon game tomorrow and before I check on how he's done
against Livan Hernandez, I predict he puts one over the wall in the
series finale.--C70 At The Bat, April 22.
So what happened? What do you think happened? [snip] There are things we do not know about Pujols,
things we cannot know, but the question really is this: How much fun is
it if you cannot believe?--Joe Posanski, SI
Extremely nice of Albert Pujols
to check out my blog and decide, you know, let's get that home run out of the way early and tack on another one to boot
. When Pujols gets into one of his grooves, all you can do is get out of his way. His second multi-homer game and April isn't over yet? It reminds me some of '06 when he came out on fire. Now knock on wood history doesn't repeat itself (at least in the fact that he hit the DL that year).
Pujols was obviously the star of the show
. Not only does he smash the two homers, he drives in three runs, scores four times, and tosses in a stolen base. He must be getting some amazing reads because that's the second time this week that he's gotten a steal and he seems to be making it not even close. I don't know if he's picked up some mannerisms that are allowing him to get great jumps or what, but he's looking like a speed demon out there.
There's only one disturbing aspect of Pujols's game right now--he made his fourth error of the season today, which is very unlike him. He's a stellar fielder, as we know, so I don't know exactly why his glove has been a little less golden this season. Hopefully he can straighten that out.
Of course, in a 12 run game
, there are probably a lot of people that could get into the Hero discussion. Rick Ankiel is one of them, with an amazing catch and a home run of his own. Rick is a streaky guy, but he may be starting to find a little bit of rhythm. I know I was down on him recently for an 0-fer after the talk with Tony LaRussa, but if he can start putting a few games like this together, this season is going to become even more fun.
The other name that pops out of the agate type that is the boxscore is Colby Rasmus. The rookie seems to be getting his legs underneath him at the major league level, as he went three for five and raised his average up to .310 and his OBP up to .408, which is great if he's going to be hitting in that #2 slot much. Getting on in front of Albert is a great thing, as we saw with Pujols's second homer today.
Jason LaRue also had three hits. It's not like he's going to take Yadier Molina's job anytime soon, but it's always good to see the backup contribute.
The pitching was better than you'd expect from seeing 8 runs on the board. Kyle Lohse started and went five innings, allowing two runs, but only one was earned. He did throw 90 pitches in that outing, which was not at all what you'd want to see, and had to leave the game after apparently jamming his knee
. Hopefully it's not serious, as the rotation doesn't need any more holes in it.
The real bad day came from PJ Walters
, who allowed six runs (five earned) in a little over two innings to make this game appear a little closer than it really was. If this outing is any indication, it's a good thing Mitchell Boggs is scheduled for the middle game against the Cubs. The rest of the bullpen did their job in small doses and should still be ready to go for the Cubs series.
I've got another early day tomorrow, so let's quickly look at the pitching matchups for the first game against Chicago. Adam Wainwright goes for the Redbirds. Wainwright was moved around in the rotation after the rainout in part to make sure he went against St. Louis's traditional rival. That said, he's had trouble with some of the Cub hitters
in the past and he's 2-3 with a 6.08 ERA in 16 games
(7 starts) against the little bears. You have to hope we see the '08 version of Wainwright, who was 1-0 with a 2.38 ERA against Chicago.
The Cubs counter with Ryan Dempster. The Cardinals have held their own
against Dempster, who has been able to tame Pujols somewhat (.250 average) even if he's not completely corraled him (2 HR). LaRue has hit him well, but there's no chance he'll play on back to back days, I don't think.
Should be a fun weekend of a great rivalry. If the Cards can take two of three, they stay in first and send a bit of a message to the rest of the divisions.
I'm done predicting, though. Don't want to stress Albert out.
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