It’s been a bad run of late for Albert Pujols. After a solid April, his average and on-base percentage have been pretty dismal in May and June. His power has been alright, but he has definitely looked like an older and less-effective player in recent weeks. A sore back has hampered him. Now something else is hampering him. From the L.A. Times:
[Pujols] disclosed after Sunday’s game that he has played with a swollen lymph node in his left groin since Wednesday.
The Angels did not send Pujols to a doctor. Pujols said the team athletic trainers considered the condition more of an infection than an injury, even with what he said was a gland swollen to the size of a golf ball.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll be all right,” Pujols said. “They say it’s one of those things that should go away.”
The ailment led to him being thrown out at second on what would otherwise have been a sure-double. It and his back have limited him to DH duties of late. He simply can’t run.
Figure on some time off for Pujols, but also figure that this is now the new normal for a guy who was once the best hitter in all of baseball.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.