Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols had three hits in last night’s win over the Mariners. Two of those hits were homers — number 629 and 630 of his career — and they tied him with Ken Griffey Jr. on the all-time home run list.
The current and future Hall of Famer are now at sixth place all time, 30 behind the number 5 man on the list, Willie Mays. Alex Rodriguez is another 36 ahead at 696.
Pujols is hitting .251/.291/.432 and is currently on pace for 28 homers this year. That would put him at 642 by the end of the season. He’s under contract through 2021. If he stays healthy, at least for him, and if the Angels don’t release him, he has at least a chance to hit 700 homers I figure, even if A-Rod is the last guy he has a real chance of passing.
Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.
Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.
Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.
After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.