Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 18, 2005
BASEBALL: Pujols-ed

Man, what a back-breaking ending to the Astros' hopes of putting away their first pennant last night. That was, if possible, a tougher ending than the Notre Dame-USC game on Saturday, which is saying quite a lot. Roger Clemens, sitting in the Houston dugout, had a distinct "I've seen this movie before and I don't like how it ends" look on his face. The home run itself was as impressive as its context, like George Brett's homer off Goose Gossage in 1980; that's what happens when a guy as strong as Pujols makes soldi contact off a guy who throws as hard as Brad Lidge.

Pujols is one of those guys you have to take in while he's in his prime, because we'll be telling stories about this one for years. As I noted after last season, not only says that the most similar player at the same age is Joe DiMaggio, but that the most similar player at the same age to Joe D is Pujols. That's amazing. In fact, Pujols is a better hitter, if you adjust for the fact that the late-30s AL was even higher scoring than today . . . DiMaggio was still better because of his glove, though; in fact, a good modern analogy for DiMaggio is a guy who hits like Pujols and plays center field like Andruw Jones.

(By the way, I noticed that George and Barbara Bush stayed through the bitter end again last night at Minute Maid, like Giuliani at Yankee Stadium. One of the benefits of being a retired politician is you get to stay for the whole game.)

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:22 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (16) | TrackBack (1)

but one of the drawbacks to working for a living is you have to go to bed before the game ends.

Posted by: steve at October 18, 2005 10:11 AM

Yeah, that was a tough one. One guy in the ballpark I didn't want at bat. I knew when Eckstein dribbled that through the infield that it was a really bad sign with Lidge's wildness of late. I'd say even with the starting pitching for the Astros it is even money whether they advance. Need lots of Os from Oswalt.

Posted by: AstrosFan at October 18, 2005 10:21 AM

Ugh. And I missed it too. Unlike George and Barbara, I left the game (changed channel) at 11:30 while Lidge was in the process of blowing away the second out. My tivo is broken and only has one functioning tuner and it was screaming at me to change the channnel to tape the debut of "The Colbert Reprt". Sadly, I obliged it.

I went back 10-15 minutes later and wondered what the hell happened...

Posted by: Mr Furious at October 18, 2005 10:49 AM

How the hell does Pujols get anything to hit there...?

Posted by: Mr Furious at October 18, 2005 10:50 AM

Last night was tough on the remote control. Between the Cards comeback down 2 with 2 outs in the ninth and the Colts coming back from being down 17 to zip it was a great night all in all.

Posted by: LargeBill at October 18, 2005 2:47 PM

There was a base open, why not load the bases to pitch to Reggie Sanders who was 1-4 for the night to that point. Why take a chance with a man in scoring position against a possible MVP of the NL when you can pitch to Sanders who just came back from a spill? It's not like Manny Ramirez is battign behind pujols.

Posted by: Son of Brock Landers at October 18, 2005 3:31 PM

Career EQA for Pujols:.338
Thru 25 EQA for DiMaggio: .329

It's fairly close.

Posted by: Richard at October 18, 2005 3:42 PM

We have seen the movie before

Nolan Ryan in 1980 against philli

1986 against the Mets

Mike Scott's no hitter

Posted by: TexasToast at October 18, 2005 5:30 PM

Son of Brock--

Reggie has been on a pretty good roll recently. He's almost as big a threat as Pujols to hit a dinger. Also, imagine loading the bases and then walking in The Run That Cost the Astros the World Series.

No, I think Garner handled it the right way. Lidge is human. Pujols, however, is superhuman.

Posted by: Fresh Air at October 19, 2005 2:15 AM

Albert Pujols equated his mammoth game-deciding homer's effect on the Houston crowd to a couch potato punching the mute button. The Cardinals have come to expect such nonchalance from Pujols, a star almost from his first day in the major leagues five seasons ago. Pujols is among the leading MVP candidates this year after finishing second in batting (.330) while hitting 41 homers and driving in 117 runs and leading the majors with 129 runs.

read more about sports at: Sports Buzz

Posted by: buzz girl at October 19, 2005 7:08 AM

How about a little love for Eckstein? If he doesn't battle for the seeing-eye grounder, Pujols never gets the chance.

You're right, though, seeing Pujols play, especially in person is awe inspiring.

Posted by: Matt at October 19, 2005 10:26 AM

I'm a huge cardinal fan and I'm hoping this catapaults us to the World Series. With that being said, if you took both teams, played them in a sandlot with no fans, the'd play the game the same way and probably have a few beers with each other afterwards.

Posted by: Bill W. at October 19, 2005 11:51 AM

I'm a forever astros fan and a huge fan of the game...that being said....

Forget Ortiz, Ramirez, A-rod (?)...Pujols is the best hitter in the game. Lidge is the best closer and they were both just doin' what they do - unfortunately Pujols won this one. My beef is with Edmonds. He knew full well that after that kindergarten temper tantrum he threw on Sunday that there was no way the ump was going to call anything close, so he just stood there and took his walk like the chickens**t he is...

Posted by: Scarlet at October 19, 2005 12:28 PM

My beef is with Edmonds. He knew full well that after that kindergarten temper tantrum he threw on Sunday that there was no way the ump was going to call anything close, so he just stood there and took his walk like the chickens**t he is...

Yes, it's really cowardly to decline to swing at borderline pitches when you're the tying run with two men out in the ninth and the best hitter in baseball is on deck.

I know it was a rough loss, but try to have a little dignity, man.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at October 19, 2005 3:52 PM

to hear some people tell it, pujols hits .478 with 96 home runs every year and the cards never lose as long as he's around. superhuman and awe inspiring? guess that makes willie mays the almighty himself.

Posted by: hype at October 20, 2005 5:11 PM

It's a little too late for me to really bother with this (ASTROS!!! NL CHAMPS!!!) but I will anyway.

Pujols did what he was supposed to do. I have an intense personal dislike for Jim Edmonds, but he needed to get Pujols to bat and Lidge allowed him to do so. And Eckstien might be annoying, but he's "scrappy" and people like that.

I want to know what Ensburg was doing playing on the grass with two strikes. If he's a step back he fields that liner and it's game over. But no. He's up on the grass guarding against the bunt. Guarding against the bunt iwth two strikes and two outs in St. Louis' last at bat of the year. GAH! It just frustrated me.

Posted by: SSG B at October 21, 2005 7:11 PM
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