Albert Pujols is finally showing some signs of life for the Angels, homering in back-to-back games after going deep just once through his first 36 games.
He’s still hitting just .214 with a .248 on-base percentage and .325 slugging percentage overall and obviously three homers in 39 total team games is shockingly little power for Pujols. But exactly how far is he behind his usual home run pace?
Here are Pujols’ homer totals through 39 team games in each of his 12 seasons:
Even after homering in back-to-back games Pujols is two homers short of his career-worst mark through 39 games, established way back in his second season. In the nine seasons between then and now he never hit fewer than seven homers through 39 team games and for his career Pujols has averaged 9.8 homers through 39 team games.
In other words, it was a good 48 hours but Pujols is still well behind where he’s always been at this point.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.