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.”

Travis d’Arnaud’s position in Wednesday’s box score read “3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B”

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The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.

The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.

The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.

Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.