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Albert Pujols finally hits first homer for Angels

May 6, 2012, 5:19 PM EDT

Albert Pujols, Jeff Mathis AP

In his third at-bat Sunday and 111th at-bat of the season, Albert Pujols finally broke his career-long homer drought, connecting on a two-run shot off Blue Jays rookie Drew Hutchinson that gave the Angels a 4-2 lead in the fifth.

Pujols’ average had been down to .191 before the blast. It’s the first time this season that he’s had a multi-RBI game.

Now that Pujols is finally on the board, it’s time for him to start making up ground.

Pujols homered once every 14.2 at-bats during his Cardinals career. His season averages in his 11 years in St. Louis were 40 homers in 574 at-bats. To get to that point this year, he’d have to hit 39 homers in 463 at-bats, an average of one homer every 11.9 at-bats. That’s a rate he’s maintained just once over a full season in his career, when he hit 49 homers in 535 at-bats in 2006.

  1. randygnyc - May 6, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Yawn. It says more about Hutchinson than Albert. And the fans there gave him a standing O? He should be handing out refunds for the money he’s stolen this year.

    • baseballisboring - May 6, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      He’s faced pitchers worse than Hutchinson this year and hadn’t hit a home run yet. Give him a little credit on this one, at least. And maybe they gave him a standing O as a way of saying “Hey, we’re behind ya!” which is the right thing to do isn’t it?

      • Mike Luna - May 6, 2012 at 5:56 PM

        A few days ago they were booing him mercilessly. That was their way of saying “Dance for us now, monkey. Dance!”

        It’ll be a lot funnier in a couple of years when all they do is boo.

      • baseballisboring - May 6, 2012 at 7:20 PM

        Well yeah, exactly. But I think booing is stupid 99% of the time…if a player is struggling that kind of thing can only be counter-productive, I mean like, give the guy a chance. But I think giving him a standing ovation after the homerun is the right thing to do regardless, no reason to take issue with that. And equating a player performing poorly after signing a big contract to stealing money from the fans is really, really stupid.

    • bchapman2011 - May 6, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      I have the over under on homeruns at 17 this year. I wonder if his wife is still offended at the offer St Louis made.

    • purnellmeagrejr - May 7, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      refunds? Why? do you think he hasn’t been trying?

  2. sir1389 - May 6, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    The point is not that Pujols will never hit homers again. That’s a pretty ridiculous statement. Instead the point is that in 11 years with St. Louis each year his stats were ever increasing and ever getting better both personally and compared to all hitters. Now with the Angels his stats will increasingly decrease and every year you will hear statistics and personal worsts, all while being paid 250 million dollars. That by very definition is a overpaying for a declining star.

    • braddavery - May 6, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      You can see the future? Must be nice. You must be rich.

      • sir1389 - May 6, 2012 at 5:34 PM

        How is noticing that Pujols has already had his longest homerless drought not only to start a season but of his career, as well as career lows in BA OPS HRs RBI’s at this point in the season seeing the future?

      • Ben - May 6, 2012 at 5:48 PM

        Not to mention the inversion of his BB and K rates. And his new propensity for swinging at junk out of the zone.

      • nightman13 - May 6, 2012 at 5:57 PM

        Saying a player will get worse at he gets older is as close to predicting the future as saying “It’s going to get dark tonight.”

        They did overpay and he is going to get worse, not a prediction but a very simple fact.

      • sir1389 - May 6, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        My point exactly. The Angels however must’ve thought they weren’t overpaying and he wasn’t going to decline otherwise why give him such a momentous contract.

      • braddavery - May 6, 2012 at 9:55 PM

        I don’t see what is hard to understand about what I said. “…every year you will hear statistics and personal worsts…” If that is not proclaiming the future with certainty, I don’t know what is. To know that would mean you can see the future. As if Pujols will ONLY get worse in every single statistical seasonal category from now until he retires. Give me a freaking break. He is in a slump. His career isn’t over and he could still have good stats/seasons.

    • bchapman2011 - May 6, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      But the good news is you only have 9 1/2 more years until your out of this contract Anaheim! Have fun with that.

  3. djstat - May 6, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Washed up and over paid.

    • bobdira - May 6, 2012 at 7:38 PM

      Time to start (continue) juicin.

  4. only1stantheman - May 6, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    I’m glad he hit one finally, hopefully now there won’t be an article every time he goes 0-4.

  5. Ben - May 6, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    So now that he’s hit his HR we can stop hearing about him “pressing” and figure out if he’s still the ballplayer he was.

    • thefalcon123 - May 7, 2012 at 9:40 AM

      “So now that he’s hit his HR we can stop hearing about him “pressing” and figure out if he’s still the ballplayer he was.”

      I think that discussion would be more relevent if Pujols was hitting .265/.330/.430 or something. At this point, his numbers as so atrocious that it’s well beyond a mere decline in skills. When he stops hitting 2008 Andruw Jones, then we can see how good of a ballplayer he still is.

  6. AlohaMrHand - May 6, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    good ,maybe he’ll stop acting like a little bitch.Oh wait thats no act.

  7. thehawg - May 6, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    I wish you many more home runs, I glad you got the “devil” off your back, amazing what a day off can do.

  8. randygnyc - May 6, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    With friends like those fans, who needs enemies. A scant 48 hours ago those same fans were booing him, kicking him while he was down. But today, they’ll show support. Typical bandwagon, fickle fans.

    As for Albert, I’m sure he’ll finish with more than his, as of know projected, 6 home runs this year. I’m sure the angels are loving Albert’s production, the teams position in the cellar and the Dodgers explosion in performance. Moreno didn’t need to spend 400 million dollars to finish BEHIND Texas.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 6, 2012 at 6:57 PM

      A scant 48 hours ago those same fans were booing him, kicking him while he was down. But today, they’ll show support. Typical bandwagon, fickle fans.

      Oh come on, fellow Yankee fans have been pulling this crap for years with Arod. In fact they still boo him if he goes into a slump even though he practically won the WS in ’09 single-handedly.

      • alan3008 - May 7, 2012 at 12:21 AM

        Spelled it wrong. Its “Aroid”

  9. John Vincent - May 6, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Reblogged this on Johnny's Baseball Blog and commented:
    Still hard to believe it took him this long…

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - May 6, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      With that kind of additional insight, I can’t believe I rely on this site for baseball news instead of Johnny’s Baseball Blog.

  10. blacc24 - May 6, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Lol all that money 1 hr 27 games 10 yr 240 million that’s 4 million a hr ( talk about easy money ) .

  11. randygnyc - May 6, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    St1080 said “He’s in a new league different pitchers monster contract lots of pressure and he’s old. What do you expect”

    .325/40/130, and a first place team, considering that’s why they’re paying him more than a quarter billion dollars.

    • alan3008 - May 7, 2012 at 12:11 AM

      32 is not old, doofus.

  12. Gonzo - May 6, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Smalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
    Sampllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllle
    Sizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzze

    • hcf95688 - May 6, 2012 at 7:31 PM

      Thats what she said.

  13. randygnyc - May 6, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Gonzo 1/6 of the season is already gone. This isn’t the first year showing this early decline. Last year was supposed to be an aberration. Apparently, it’s now his normal.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 6, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      this early decline. Last year was supposed to be an aberration.

      Last year was his worst year statistically, and he was still 26th in fWAR [5.1], 14th in wRC [148] and 17th in wOBA [.385]. People need to stop acting like he went from Barry Bonds to Yuniesky Betancourt. He went from the best player in baseball to now one of the best.

    • Gonzo - May 6, 2012 at 7:10 PM

      So he drops down to 37 homers and 99 ribbies a year while hitting .299/356. oh noes! He’s garbage!

  14. baseballisboring - May 6, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    32 is an age where players can typically start declining. It happened last year but by the end of the year he still had great numbers.

    Amazing. He’s had this golden boy image for so long, completely above all the steroids chatter, but all it takes is a slow start (in a new, harder league by the way) for everyone to be convinced he came here with a forged birth certificate. Unbelievable.

    • alan3008 - May 7, 2012 at 12:17 AM

      Not really, skippy. Many players have their best seasons in their 30s. I would say the decline may start around 36 or 37, depending on the player’s injury history. Look at Chipper Jones. He is 40 years old and still going strong; .318 BA, 5 HR, 21 RBIs.

    • baseballisboring - May 7, 2012 at 1:35 AM

      Well, I said CAN typically, I should’ve left out the word typically…but my point stands. A lot of guys have great seasons in their 30′s…but a lot don’t. Is it really fair to assume that about him?

  15. buffalo65 - May 6, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Good for him, not many 40 year olds hit homers on the bigs.

    • alan3008 - May 7, 2012 at 12:10 AM

      Pujols is 32, Einstein.

  16. hcf95688 - May 6, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    His HGH shipment must have come in.

  17. brianbosworthisstonecold - May 6, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Pooholes=thief

  18. kpow55 - May 6, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Gotta love the dodgers fans on here taking shots, they truly believe their team won’t implode in July. Because nl west teams never implode late in the season and “fire sale” their stars. Small unsustainable market. But take your shots while you can.

    • AlohaMrHand - May 7, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      Dodger fan here,They have benefitted from a weak early schedule and an unconscious effort by the real MVP Matt Kemp.Im no fool their bullpen is shaky and they have no pop in their lineup other than Kemp.Ive never been an Eithier fan as he goes into horrible slumps which come at the worst times.I like Mattingly but his handling of the starting rotation has alot left to be desired(ex leaving in Kershaw Wednesday longer than he should and him getting shelled.)They are a glorified .500 team that had a hot start against subpar teams.

      that being said Pujols had done nothing to make the Angel fans embrace him.He whined about the billboards with El Hombre on them,he blasted the hitting coach instead of talking to him private and then makes a snarky comment about Scosia when benched Saturday.For a guy making as much as he is he’s producing some Bobby Bonilla like results so far.

    • lanflfan - May 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM

      Gotta love Angel fans eating some crow for proclaiming themselves paper champions during the offseason. How does it feel looking UP at the Mariners AND A’s on May 7?

      Aloha said it best, I have hope but no delusions the 2012 Dodgers will be more than a slightly above .500 club. But we have competent management in place, who is looking to build through the farm system and not dole out phat contracts. That’s enough, for this year at least, to make me satisfied with whatever effort we get from the last Dodger team with McAsshat’s fingerprints on it (yes, I know some bad contracts will continue).

  19. mybrunoblog - May 6, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    What’s the over/under for Pujols homers now? I say 31…….Should note that if Angels are out of the race by Sept 1st he could launch a bunch of “no pressure, nobody cares, pad my stats homers that month that could throw off my unscientific calibration of 31 homers.

  20. alan3008 - May 7, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    All that money and a .191 batting average and no home runs until now. I know pitchers that hit better than that. LMAO. I guess all the HGH wore off. Time for another shot Pujols.
    The Angels deserve it for giving him all that money. What a waste.

  21. alan3008 - May 7, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    Pujols sucks now. Wait until the pitchers figure out what he has a hard time hitting. He’ll be battin less than .100. :-O

  22. drsodrel - May 7, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    Just wow. A guy who has been the best offensive player in baseball for 10 years moves leagues, signs a huge contract in a brand new city. Has a crappy April… May is just starting.. And you’re saying hes washed up? That pitchers are going to ‘figure’ him out? Please give the guy the credit he deserves. There are another 136 games left in the season. I predict atleast 15 home runs in the next 3 weeks. The angels as a team have played like crap, and now that he got the first one off his back it’s game on.

  23. bluesfan58 - May 7, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    I just found it funny that Albert was mad at his manager, who sat him out on Saturday, saying that sometimes a guy who’s pressing just needs a day off to figure things out. The very next game, he finally goes yard. Maybe Scocia was on to something, and AP should listen more and pop off less…

  24. thefalcon123 - May 7, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    ” would say the decline may start around 36 or 37, depending on the player’s injury history. Look at Chipper Jones”

    You know, smoking does’t actually kill. I know there are tons of studies that show it over and over again, to the point where it seems like an absolute truth. But, I mean, my Grandpa smoked from the time he was 14 until he was 93, so smoking didn’t kill him.

    Now, you may say my statement is ridiculous. But sir, it is just as stupid as what you just said. Many people have done many studies to shows a vast majority of players start to decline very rapidly in their early 30s. Of course there are exceptions, but exceptions do not prove the rule.

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