Albert Pujols
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Albert Pujols might have more career RBI than Babe Ruth

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Angels slugger and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols had a night to remember during the club’s 6-5 loss to the Mariners on Saturday. In the bottom of the third inning, he lined a double off of Yusei Kikuchi and scored Andrelton Simmons for the Angels’ first run of the night, then returned in the ninth with a 436-foot solo shot off of Anthony Swarzak.

The two-RBI performance bumped Pujols’ career total to 1,993 — and, unsurprisingly, placed him in some pretty rare company. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the veteran slugger surpassed Babe Ruth’s career RBI total of 1,992. Only Hank Aaron (2,297), Álex Rodríguez (2,086), Barry Bonds (1,996), and Lou Gehrig (1,995) sit above him on the all-time list now.

As MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger pointed out, however, there’s some dispute about Ruth’s real RBI total. Elias Sports Bureau doesn’t count the 224 RBI Ruth racked up between 1914 and 1919, as the league didn’t start keeping official track of players’ runs batted in until 1920. Baseball Reference, among other sites, does retroactively count those RBI as legitimate, giving the Bambino a much more impressive total of 2,214 RBI across his 22-season career in the majors — good enough for second-most among all MLB players.

Still, the difference between fifth-most RBI and seventh-most RBI is fairly slight and should in no way diminish Pujols’ incredible accomplishments over the last two decades. He needs just two more runs batted in to overtake Lou Gehrig’s indisputable 1,995 total and three to eclipse Barry Bonds’ 1,996 RBI, both records he’s likely to break by the time the Angels conclude their series against the Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

The Giants are winning but they’re still gonna sell

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The state of baseball in general, the state of the National League in particular and the state of the San Francisco Giants as a competitor are conspiring to create what seems like at least a mildly absurd situation.

The Giants, a veteran-laden team that, as recently as this past offseason but definitely within the past couple of years, were at least talking about being on a win-now footing, just swept a four-game series, have won five straight games and have won 12 of 14 to pull themselves to within two and a half games of a playoff spot.

Yet, that’s all for temporary show, because they’re about to sell off. At least according to Jeff Passan at ESPN. Giants president Farhan Zaidi tried to push back on that in a radio interview yesterday, denying that the club has foreclosed the possibility of a postseason push, but I’m not really buying that and I don’t think most people are.

On one level it makes sense to ignore the recent surge and forge on with a rebuild. Sure, the Giants are winning but they’re not exactly good. They’re two and a half out of the Wild Card, but there are many teams ahead of them. There’s a lot of reason to think that they’re playing in good fortune right now and that that, rather than finding some extra gear of sustainable better play, is what’s to credit. Hot streaks can happen at any time but the trade deadline only comes once a year. When you have the best starter available in Madison Bumgarner and the best reliever available in Will Smith, you gotta make those deals. That’s what I’d probably do if I ran the Giants and I think that that’s, wisely, what Zaidi will do.

Still, it’s an odd look, less for the Giants specifically than for baseball as a whole. We may in an era of cheap front offices who don’t like to contend if it means spending money, but it’s unfair to paint the Giants with that brush. They’ve spent money and acquired talent and have done whatever they can to extend their 2010-2014 mini-dynasty a few more years and in doing so they’ve made a lot of fans happy. That team has pretty much reached the end and, even in an earlier, more competitive era, they’d not be properly criticized for starting in on a rebuild. Heck, they’d be excused if they had done it a year or two earlier, frankly.

But, because so many teams have punted on improving themselves, these aging Giants are at least superficially competitive. As such, when they do sell off in the coming days, it’ll look to some like they’re waving a white flag or something when they’re not really doing that. I mean, the Rockies and the Pirates, among other teams, should be much better than they are but didn’t seem all that interested in improving, thereby helping the Giants look better, right? It’s less a knock on the Giants for rebuilding when they’re within striking distance of the playoffs than it is on the rest of the league for allowing a team like the Giants to be within striking distance of a playoff spot.

But that’s where we are right now. An insanely competitive Wild Card race from teams that, on the whole, are rather unconcerned with being competitive. What a time to be a baseball fan.