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Albert Pujols is in some pretty rare company

May 2, 2012, 2:30 PM EDT

Albert Pujols Reuters

Finding all the ways to express how much Albert Pujols has been sucking eggs recently is getting tiresome, but the Elias people — passed along by Buster Olney — came up with a novel one today:

Albert Pujols has now gone 96 at-bats without a home run this season, the second-most in a single season in his career (he went 105 at-bats last year). From Elias: Pujols’ homerless streak is the third-longest streak to start a season by a player who had at least 400 career home runs entering the seasons. Only Eddie Murray (109 in 1996) and Ken Griffey Jr. (98 in 2010) had longer streaks.

Not to be too dire about this, but both Murray and Griffey had giant forks sticking out of their bats when they had their streaks.

Just sayin’!

  1. Ben - May 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    I never, ever bought into the argument that Pujols was older than he said, but man, this is the kind of collapse players have in their mid 30s. He’ll probably be fine, but he just looks awful.

  2. icanspeel - May 2, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I haven’t seen many of his AB’s this year, but I wonder if he changed his approach? Or maybe he just hits NL pitchers better?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 2, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      Not usre if he started the season this way, or if he is pressing now, but his O-swing (rate at which he is swinging at pitches outside the strike zone) is at a career high.

    • ezthinking - May 2, 2012 at 9:37 PM

      He’s squeezing the saw dust out of his bat. If he could get a few bloops and a blast, his ass cheeks will loosen up and he’ll start playing.

  3. kpow55 - May 2, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I seem to remember a minor slump in the WS last year and that turned out okay for him in the end.

    The people that pile on now will be the same ones climbing over each other to get back on the bandwagon June through September.

    • Ben - May 2, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      There’s nothing hopeful in his numbers. His K rate has spiked, his BB rate has collapsed. His spray chart is terrifying
      (that’s a bit dated right now) but he’s just not hitting the ball hard at all. This looks like skills collapse, not a slump.

      • Ben - May 2, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        I should also add that while his line drive rates and ground ball rates are fine, the concerning thing is his plate discipline. He is swinging at a TON of pitches outside of the zone. 27.5 % in 2010 to 31% in 2011 to 41.1% in 2012. His career average is 21.8%.

      • ezthinking - May 2, 2012 at 9:41 PM

        It’s called pressing.

    • timstl - May 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      I agree it’s way too early.

      Even though he left the Cardinals I’m still pulling for him to turn it around — at least he’s in another league. But man, these slumps seemed more and more common over recent years. There were of course plenty of peaks where he was destroying everyone, but the valleys seemed much worse and more common. It will be interesting to see what happens at the end of the year. Like I said, hopefully he turns it around.

  4. illegalblues - May 2, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Really hope he turns it around soon. It would just be sad to see Albert’s legacy tainted by this contract. I’m tired of talking about money and baseball in the same conversation.

    • 1historian - May 3, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      All due respect but – with the contract he signed and the way he is NOT hitting it is impossible not to talk about them in the same conversation.

      • illegalblues - May 4, 2012 at 11:46 AM

        sure it is. people focus too much on that. it’s not like any of us have stock in the LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM. i don’t really give a flip about payrolls, i worry about my own at work and that’s enough for me.

  5. funkygoorilla - May 2, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Its because he has to face tougher AL pitching now duh!

    • stlouis1baseball - May 2, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      Unless I am “miss-remembering” he has always crushed AL pitching in interleague play.
      He isn’t done by any means (in my opinion). However, I am in agreement with another commenter from a couple of days ago. I don’t know which I find most pleasing.
      The fact that he hit his last official home run in a Cardinals uniform LAST YEAR…
      Or the fact that he outweighs his batting average.
      I must be a bad person.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 2, 2012 at 4:18 PM

      Last I heard, there were a handful of guys who could throw the ball pretty well in the senior circuit. Albert historically managed to do pretty well there.

      He has been going 0-fer against such AL luminaries as Nick Blackburn, Francisco Liriano and Derek Lowe, so blaming the excellence of the pitching does not really explain the whole thing.

  6. mybrunoblog - May 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Albert can you hear us? Albert….Albert…..nurse give me 150 cc’s of adrenaline we’re losing him!

  7. heynerdlinger - May 2, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Probably worth pointing out that all three of those guys were 40 years old when they had those streaks.

    (I kid! I kid! I know Albert is only 39.)

  8. drez146 - May 2, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    I am one guy that won’t jump back on the bandwagon, the failure of him and his whole team are pretty satisfying to me.

  9. dracko19 - May 2, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Remember when David Ortiz started off cold a couple years ago and everyone said he was done??? Do you think Albert has suddenly forgot how to bat? I’m guessing he’s gonna be just fine.

    • phukyouk - May 2, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      remember when Jeter was finished too?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 2, 2012 at 4:21 PM

        Or Griffey Jr.? See, they are all doing just fine.

        Seriously, Albert is in a big slump. New Team, new manager, new coaches, new house (I’m guessing he moved to CA), different routines…

        He was a cardinal under TLR his whole career, it was all he know about the big leagues. He is making a ton of adjustments all at once. He’ll settle down.

  10. racksie - May 2, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Call me a hater, but I’m not rooting for the guy. He is very likely older than stated, he gave the dread “it’s not about the money it’s about respect” angle, and THEN sent his wife to go on the radio and bad mouth his former team. Gee what’s not to like about that. This has all the hallmarks of being the worst contract in baseball history. If you toss out his team mate Vernon Wells’ contract.

    • davebrownspiral - May 2, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      “This has all the hallmarks of being the worst contract in baseball history.”

      Carl Crawford takes exception to that statement.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 2, 2012 at 4:28 PM

        Wells. Vernon Wells. How may I not help your team for $20MM/year?

      • 24missed - May 2, 2012 at 9:09 PM

        Carl Crawford is awesome. He has a fabulous contract.

    • paperlions - May 2, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      I agree…except for the part about him likely being older than stated….he’s as likely to be older than states as you are likely to be older than you think you are. Again…he is not a guy that was a DR prospect. When he was a kid his entire family emigrated to the US and he has since gone through the process of becoming a US citizen.

      There is approximately a 0% chance that he was not born on the day he says he was born with the name he is currently using.

      • racksie - May 2, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        with the name he is currently using———————

        That could be the rub here.

      • paperlions - May 2, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        Yeah, people always change the identity of their 12 yr old kids….you know…just in case.

      • stlouis1baseball - May 2, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        Paper: In fairness to Racksie…when someone is trying to win the Little League WS they change the name of their 12 year old. They go all “Danny Almonte” on that ass!

  11. unlost1 - May 2, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    poor millionaire

  12. thefalcon123 - May 2, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Damn! Welcome to the carnival of schadenfreude! I’m not happy that Pujols left the Cardinals (to be fair, there was a very substantive gap in the Cards and Angels offers), but I also hate to see a legendarily great player totally lost like this. I hope the guys comes around, but this has gone far beyond mere slump and is becoming alarming. Pujols’ start is worse than that of both Ortiz’s and Jeter’s in years past, and he has always been a far better hitter than them both.

    • thefalcon123 - May 2, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      …this is sobering.

      Pujols 2012: .547 OPS
      Adam Dunn’s astoundingly awful 2011: .569 OPS

      I mean, it’s early and bound to improve, but holy crap he has been terrible.

    • stex52 - May 2, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      I’m not going to wish him failure. He was the heart of the Cards for a long time (2 WS) and he deserves better from us. But this is awful. It reminds me of many of the AB’s he had early last year and after his big night in the WS.

      I hope he comes out and is productive for a while yet. But the Cards already look smart, and you have to wonder what 3-5 years down the road is going to look like.

  13. rcali - May 2, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Lets be clear everybody, the Angels are paying for .315 38 Hrs 120 RBI 10sb for the next 4-5 years at least. He’s showing he’s past his prime to even come close to this based on his last two starts to the season.

  14. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 2, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    2012 Home Run Count:

    Chone Figgins: 2
    Albert Pujols: 0

    That is all.

  15. jaymidd - May 2, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    St. Louis comes out smelling like a rose.

    He’ll hit some home runs, but make no mistake about it…this is the beginning of the end for Big Al. He’ll be DH’n before the season is out. Book it.

  16. rosesacl - May 2, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Albert got paid, now hes done….
    What a bust this guy is…

  17. sabatimus - May 2, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Welcome to American League pitching, Albert.

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