[credit provider=”FS West/MLB.tv”]
The big story from the Los Angeles Angels’ 3-0 win over the Seattle Mariners Thursday is that Albert Pujols became the fourth youngest player to reach 450 career home runs in Major League Baseball history.However, there’s a much more important development with his monster 3-for-4 night: Albert Pujols is back.
As you probably already know, Pujols has really struggled at the plate this season with career low numbers in nearly every statistical category.
Then everything changed May 11.
On that night Texas Rangers pitchers kept him in check (0-for-4, 1 strikeout), dropping his batting average to .192 and OPS to .505 (more than 130 and 500 points off his career marks, respectively).
Something obviously clicked after that awful game.
These are Pujols’ numbers in the 13 games since then: .307 AVG, .915 OPS, 4 HR and 11 RBI.
His home run (1 ever 13 at bats), walk (7 per cent) and strike out rates (10 per cent) over that time period have also improved from earlier in the season.
His numbers still don’t look all that great (.225 AVG, .625 OPS, 5 HR). And this 13-game stretch doesn’t quite match his gargantuan career numbers, but like last season it appears Pujols has found his stroke after a slow start and will finish with big numbers at the end of the year.
Which is great news for the all of a sudden streaking Angels (three wins in a row) who could really use some juice in that abysmal lineup to match their great pitching (3.45 ERA, 1.21 WHIP).