It’s been a minute … maybe even millions of them.
Alberto Pujols is in the last season of a 10-year, $240 million deal, and was released by the Los Angeles Angels on May 13 of this season after hitting just .198 and reportedly rejected a bench role. But since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers, he’s hitting as well as he has in many years — though in limited play.
Pujols’s full line with the Angels this season: 24 games, 17 hits, 5 homers, 12 RBI’s, and a .622 OPS. With the Dodgers? 19 games, 15 hits, 5 homers, 13 RBI’s, and an .888 OPS. The sample size is as different as it is limited. The .888 OPS would even mark one that’s better than any Pujols had during his time with the Angels.
But Pujols’ impact has also translated into winning as the team sits at 38-25 on the season, 1.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants. In the 19 games Pujols has played, the Dodgers, who were 22-18 before his arrival, are 12-7. They actually won each of the first seven games he played in, all but one of which were starts, and they’ve been victorious in 16 of their last 23.
Pujols’, who has hits in six of his last 12 at bats, has a .268 National League batting average this season, which he hasn’t hit in a full season since 2016. Again, very small sample size, but one that sparks promise for the World Series contenders.
Maybe it’s too soon, maybe the 41-year-old has figured something out, or perhaps it’s just productivity stemming from a change of scenery, which everyone needs at some point. Pujols isn’t where he was on that other L.A. team, and he’ll be counted on in the Dodgers’ postseason run if this holds to a respectable degree. A watchable Albert Pujols is a win for Doyers Beisbol, as well as any baseball fan still sticking with the sport.
Even more Pujols?
And, for those keeping score, Pujols is 24 home runs away from Alex Rodriguez’s 696. Pujols, with 10 homers this season already, would need to reach 34 in total to catch A-Rod this season for fourth all-time, which he hasn’t done since 2015, his last All-Star season. But given the spark of production, might he have another season in him, albeit at what would surely be a discounted, bench role rate?
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