Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols rounds third base after hitting a home run in the fourth inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark.
They told us he would be fine. The cool Cardinals fans did. The Cubs and Reds fans who had suffered at his hands did. You can forgive the embittered St. Louis faithful who resented his leaving them. Just look at what he has done, After a cold cold April, Albert Pujols is charged for the playoffs. He really is "The Machine".
The joke going into the season was that there were three teams that Albert had never homered off of. The Cardinals, Angels and the Rangers. Because the trivia gurus had compiled the facts from the regular season records it never dawned on them that The Machine had blasted out three homeruns in a world series game at the bandbox little league field of Arlington. He was charged at the pinnacle of the playoffs.
As he showed Tuesday night, though, at any moment the switch can be flipped. Everything he is doing seems to be on the incline after presenting his opening month as an Angel as a decline. He has nowhere to go but up, and as he goes up he is meeting his career numbers agian. His slugging percentage is about to break .500. He is 17 homers behind his total form last year but only one double off the pace. He has 112 hits in 102 games as an Angel. If you think his 12 GIDP is bad, he hit into 29 last season so there is even that.
He ranks eighth in the American league with 48 extra base hits and is third in the league with 11 Intentional Walks. His defense by the available metrics is in the top 3 for AL at 1B (you can look up the mathematical graffiti or be a Lyle and watch his next 4,000 games). He is tan, rested and ready. He is here for the next ten years. He is not El Hombre but he is ours. He is the Machine. He is Albert Pujols and he charged for the playoffs.