The Cardinals may have to learn to live without Pujols

Updated: June 10, 2008

AP Photo/Al Behrman

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols left Tuesday's game against Cincinnati after injuring his left calf.

GONE, BUT FOR HOW LONG?

Albert Pujols got one home run closer to No. 300 on Tuesday, but its importance paled in comparison to the injury that forced him out of the game with Cincinnati and, quite possibily, out of the lineup for an extended stretch.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BASEBALL

Braves at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN

Pujols has gutted it out through injuries this entire season, and his numbers still look like they have every season. Now, though, he may have to sit after injuring his left calf.

The impact that this injury will have on the Cardinals is significant, though it's hard to measure in exact numbers since Pujols rarely misses more than a few games a season (he's played in more than 150 games in all but one season). St. Louis has gotten great production this year from Ryan Ludwick, but he'll have a little more pressure to produce now, as will many of his teammates should Pujols miss significant time. That could put a dent in what has been a surprisingly strong season so far for the Cardinals.

Albert Pujols, since rookie season (2001)
MLB rank
Batting average (min. 2,000 PA) .332 1st
Home runs 298 2nd
RBIs 903 2nd

Cardinals offense, 2008
Team batting average .274
Runs per game 4.7
Home runs per game 0.9

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: June 9 | June 8 | June 5 | June 4 | June 3 | June 2

BETTER BRADLEY

Not long ago, people were wondering what was wrong with the Texas Rangers. I think now it's time to talk about what's right with them. Josh Hamilton is obviously an unbelievable story, but Milton Bradley has also been a remarkable story, too. Without that Hamilton kid, people would be thinking about Bradley for MVP. Right now, he's first in the American League in batting average, slugging and on-base percentage. He's also third in runs, walks and home runs.

We all remember when he tore his ACL last year with the Padres. Normally, when you tear your ACL it's a year-long thing. The Padres probably didn't think he'd make it back or they would have signed him.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels had the team's trainers look over the situation with Bradley in the offseason. They hoped he'd be able to DH by mid-April, but he ended up playing in the outfield in spring training.

A quick story about how this year has been for Bradley: During a spring training game, he hit a triple and slid into third. After he crossed the plate later in the inning, Bradley went into the dugout and hugged the strength coach. The next day, he walked into the clubhouse with a fistful of Starbucks gift cards for the training staff.

He's bounced around a bit in his career and most of it has been his fault. But Texas manager Ron Washington said that when Bradley gets mad these days he's getting mad at himself instead of the umpire. And Washington has no problem with that.

I remember reading at the beginning of May people saying the Rangers were done. Now, the most productive middle-of-the-order hitters in baseball may be on the Rangers. In fact, you might say that with Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Hamilton and Bradley they are as good as any team's first four hitters.

FORWARD THINKING: WEDNESDAY

Scott Kazmir • Rays at Angels, 3:35 p.m. ET: Two pitchers with ERAs south of 2.00 hook up. Scott Kazmir (6-1, 1.40 ERA) has baffled hitters of all types. Left-handers are hitting .132 against him, while righties haven't fared all that much better at .195. Though he has been stingy since coming off the disabled list, John Lackey (2-1, 1.70 ERA) has been susceptible to the long ball, having given up at least one homer in each of his past four starts.

Cole Hamels • Phillies at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. ET: Cole Hamels (6-4, 3.36 ERA) has tossed three shutouts in his past five starts, though he was hit around pretty hard in the other two. Andrew Miller (4-5, 5.65 ERA) has two shutouts this season, but he has not made it past the fifth inning in any of his past three starts.

Jair Jurrjens • Braves at Cubs, 8:05 ET, ESPN: Jair Jurrjens (6-3, 3.77 ERA) has given up 28 hits over his past three starts, a stretch of just 15 innings. Oddly enough, though, Jurrjens is 1-0 with two no-decisions in those outings. In an effort to keep Ryan Dempster (7-2, 2.90 ERA) fresh, the Cubs have limited his pitch count his past two starts.

Complete list of pitching probables for Wednesday's games


Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

BBTN ON THE AIR: WEDNESDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
7 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Scott Reiss
Analysts: Steve Phillips, John Kruk, Eric Young, Peter Gammons
12 a.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Scott Reiss
Analysts: Steve Phillips, John Kruk, Eric Young

BASEBALL TONIGHT MINUTE: BRAVES IN TROUBLE

TUESDAY'S NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES

GOOD
Ronnie Belliard• In his first 26 games, Ronnie Belliard had two homers. He hit two on Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs in Washington's win.
BAD
Hideki Okajima• The Red Sox bullpen gave up six runs against the Orioles, with Hideki Okajima and Craig Hansen each giving up three.
UGLY
Ron Mahay• Kansas City headed to the eighth with a 5-1 lead, but the bullpen, starting with Ron Mahay, gave up five runs in the eighth and ninth to lose, 6-5.

DARRYL STRAWBERRY ON THE METS

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

Sean Allen examines the pitching matchups in store for the 15 games on Wednesday's schedule in the American League and National League.

Fantasy Allen also looks at injuries and details player reports that could help shape the way you put together your roster for Wednesday's games. Daily Notes

NEWS AND NOTES

Morgan Ensberg• The Yankees released infielder Morgan Ensberg and minor league first baseman Ben Broussard. Ensberg was hitting .203 in 28 games, Broussard .159 in 26 games.

Frank ThomasFrank Thomas, out with knee and hamstring injuries, visited with a team doctor Tuesday. The club hopes to have the 40-year-old Thomas back June 20 after the A's finish their interleague games.

Roy OswaltRoy Oswalt continued his dominance against Milwaukee's Prince Fielder. Fielder went 0-for-3 on Tuesday and is now just 4-for-28 in his career against Oswalt.

THIS DATE IN MLB HISTORY (JUNE 11)

1981: Attempting to break Stan Musial's National League record for hits, Pete Rose hit a wicked infield grounder which the official scorer ruled an error rather than giving the Phillies first baseman his historic hit. Amid loud booing at Veterans Stadium, fireworks began going off prematurely.

1985: Phillies outfielder Von Hayes became the first player to hit two home runs (lead-off homer and a grand slam) in an inning as the Phillies blasted the Mets 26-7.

1990: The 43-year-old Nolan Ryan, then with the Rangers, no-hit the A's to become the oldest player to throw a no-hitter. Ryan became the first player to toss a no-no in three different decades and to accomplish the feat with three different teams.

2003: Using a record six pitchers, the Astros no-hit the Yankees. Roy Oswalt, Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner worked together to pitch the no-hitter.