Albert Pujols went 4-for-4 with two doubles last night, raising his OPS above 1.200, and in the process reached 1,000 extra-base hits for his career.
Pujols is 35th all time in extra-base hits and has a chance to move into the 20-25 range by the end of the year, which is his age-33 season. Here’s the all-time leaderboard for extra-base hits through age 33:
Jimmie Foxx 1077
Alex Rodriguez 1055
Lou Gehrig 1040
Hank Aaron 1016
Albert Pujols 1000
Pujols had 80 extra-base hits last season, so he definitely has a chance to surpass Jimmie Foxx as the all-time leader through age 33.
Pujols’ reaction to joining that club is pretty amusing, via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com:
I didn’t even know anything about it. I can swear on that, bro. When I got to the dugout, everybody was like, “Congratulations.” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” The bat boy was the first one to say, “I got your ball.” I’m like, “For what?” He told me a thousand doubles. I’m like, “A thousand doubles? That’s a lot.”
Congrats anyway, bro.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.