I had to laugh at the headline link on ESPN.com (that’s the Eastern Seaboard Promotion Network, for those of us in the Midwest) after Tuesday night’s Cardinals – Tigers game.
The Cards exploded on offense, plating all eleven of their runs by the end of the sixth inning.
Albert Pujols had a fine game by all accounts, considering Jim Leyland took the bat out of his hands twice. The one pitch Albert did put in play was well-struck to say the least, landing an estimated 446 feet from its launching point. So 1-2, 2 IBB, a HR and a strikeout (that he looked pretty bad on, actually).
What’s ESPN’s link to their story Tuesday night say about the game?
Um, really? Because Albert’s home run was the difference maker in the nine-run blowout?
The article begins:
ST. LOUIS — After Adam Wainwright escaped a first-inning mess, the St. Louis Cardinals made Justin Verlander pay.
Albert Pujols hit his fifth home run in five games — and the longest homer at Busch Stadium this season — to lead a 14-hit barrage. Wainwright righted himself to work seven strong innings in an 11-2 rout over the Tigers and their ace Tuesday night.
“You can’t figure this game at all,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “We haven’t been scoring in bunches.”
Pujols drew his major league-leading 19th and 20th intentional walks in only semi-threatening situations before lining his 23rd homer an estimated 446 feet over the left field wall off Ryan Perry to start the sixth. Chris Duncan followed with a 418-foot shot that gave the light-hitting Cardinals back-to-back homers for the first time all season.
So Albert’s home run “led the barrage?” Again, as prodigious a bomb as it was, I’d say maybe Skip Schumaker, Chris Duncan, Yadier Molina, or Brendan Ryan played a more key role with their great at-bats. What about Adam Wainwright’s solid start (to be fair, he did at least rank mention in the early paragraphs).
I understand the overall impact Pujols’ bat has on the lineup and more importantly the opposing pitcher. When they pitch around AP, it creates great opportunity for the hitters around and behind him. Indeed, Pujols scored a run one of the times he was intentionally passed.
Nevertheless, as Pujols nears the end of his current contract with the Cardinals, speculation is already beginning to run rampant that the Cards must start making moves to secure Albert’s future and perhaps the near future of the franchise. Bernie Miklasz has written about it at the Post-Dispatch. Will Leitch wrote about his concern over losing both Pujols and Tony LaRussa at Deadspin. Heck, the subject was broached here already last season.
Nevermind shuddering at the thought of seeing Pujols in a Cubs uniform. I shudder at the thought of Pujols wearing anything but the Birds-on-the-Bat.
So, as I mentioned, I had to laugh at ESPN’s headline for Tuesday night’s game. As Cardinal Nation clamors for an upgrade to the offensive lineup, as phone lines burn up with angry calls for Bill DeWitt’s head on local sports radio – the rest of the Cardinal lineup produced, they won this game around Albert Pujols. For one night Albert didn’t have to carry the burden himself.
And what does ESPN do? Plays up Pujols and his home run. Don’t they realize that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets probably already know Albert is a good player? He doesn’t need the hype…