What they’re saying about Albert Pujols’ historic night

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Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols tallied a World Series record 14 total bases in Saturday night’s 16-7 Game 3 defeat of the Rangers. He went 5-for-6 with six RBI and four runs scored, homering three times to join the proverbial Mount Rushmore of postseason performers. Only Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson had homered three times in a World Series game before Albert joined them in accomplishing the feat.

Let’s take a trip around the web to see what others are saying about Pujols’ historical performance:

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com: “This isn’t a tale about how many zillions of dollars Albert Pujols is about to add to his 401(k) this winter. This isn’t a tale about whether Albert Pujols owes it to the American public to talk to media knuckleheads like us after a World Series game. No, this is just a tale about what really matters at times like this — the tale of how the greatest hitter in our solar system took an electrifying journey into the history books on a crazy Saturday evening in October.”

MLB.com’s Matthew Leach: “It would not have been unreasonable to think Albert Pujols had nothing left to accomplish in baseball. It just would have been wrong. Add one more line to the résumé of the greatest hitter of his generation: Pujols turned in the greatest individual hitting performance in World Series history on Saturday night.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington: “Between him and [Miguel] Cabrera, you need to outlaw them. They’re just that good.The guy just got locked in after his first at-bat tonight. I thought we had put him away. Next thing you know, the ball is up in the third deck.”

Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa: “There were a couple times in the dugout during the middle of the game we said let’s have a game like we’ll never forget. That’s kind of what he did.’’

Gil LeBreton, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Pujols batted in four consecutive innings, fourth through seventh. He hit a single, a single, a home run and then another homer. And for anyone who wasn’t yet stupefied, Pujols launched another fly ball into the left-field seats in the top of the ninth.”

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “When the scoreboard stopped flashing, when the smoke cleared, when the Texas Rangers’ pitchers wobbled into the clubhouse to receive stitches, Albert Pujols finally dropped his bat. … Pujols went deep into his own heart, and then deep into the heart of Texas.”

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports: “North Texas has its way of lookin’ at things, and then of puttin’ ‘em. And right about the time the Texas Rangers were gettin’ plum pole-axed Saturday night on Nolan Ryan Expressway, as they were witnessing and participating in one of the great offensive performances – if not the greatest – in World Series history, they’d bought themselves another folksy idiom: Son, you don’t get into a hittin’ contest with Albert Pujols.”

SI.com’s Tom Verducci: “Lincoln at Gettysburg. Hendrix at Woodstock. Pujols at Arlington. The performance of a lifetime.”

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “You know you’re getting old(er) when you see something like tonite and reckon you’ll never see it again.”

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: