Albert Pujols has just joined one of the most exclusive clubs in all of Major League Baseball: the 2,000 RBI club. He reached number 2,000 this afternoon with a solo homer — the 639th dinger of his career — in the third inning in the Angels’ game against the Tigers in Detroit.
When he crossed the plate after that homer he became only the fifth player to top 2,000 career RBI. The whole club:
Hank Aaron: 2,297
Babe Ruth: 2,214
Alex Rodriguez: 2,086
Cap Anson: 2,075
Albert Pujols: 2,000
That’s the list according to Baseball-Reference.com, anyway. The Elias Sports Bureau only counts RBI since 1920, so it leaves out Anson and cuts down Ruth’s total by over 200. Major League Baseball leaves out most of Anson but counts some and has a different total for Ruth than Baseball-Reference.com does for reasons which are only clear to them, likely dealing with how the pre-1920 data was mined. Personally, I consider Baseball-Reference.com infallible until told otherwise, so let’s call Pujols fifth.
Anyway, I know RBI is not as important a stat as it has historically been made out to be, but it’s still a rare accomplishment to collect this many of them. Besides, Pujols has long since ensured himself a place in the Hall of Fame, so this is just some sugar on top. Let’s enjoy the sugar:
“We haven’t had many games like this,” Dodgers manager Dave Robert said after last night’s loss to the Yankees. That’s for sure.
There were no wild walkoff hits. There were no home runs by Dodger batters. There were two, including a grand slam, from Didi Gregorius, however, and he and New York batters pounded Hyun-Jin Ryu, perhaps the stingiest pitcher in baseball this year, for seven runs on nine hits in four and a third as the Yankees beat the Dodgers 10-2 in Dodger Stadium.
Aaron Judge, who has been slumping something terrible, opened up the scoring with a solo home run in the third. Two batters later Gary Sánchez matched him with a blast of his own. An A.J. Pollock RBI single in the bottom half of the inning made it a 2-1 game but after that the Yankees stepped on the gas with a five-run fifth highlighted by a Didi Gregorius grand slam. Gleber Torres would homer in the sixth, Judge would single home a run in the eighth and Gregorius would strike again in the ninth with a solo homer for his second blast of the night. That one gave the Yankees 57 bombs in the month of August, which sets a team record. There’s still a week left in August too.
As for the Dodgers, Ryu was uncharacteristically rusty, though it probably should be noted that this was his second poor outing in a row. struggled through his second straight sub-par outing. The last time out he lost to Atlanta. allowing all four Braves’ runs in 5 2/3 innings as the Dodgers fell 4-3. His ERA came in to this game at a still-MLB-best 1.64, but those seven runs in fewer than five — his shortest outing in nearly two months — puffed it up to an even 2.00.
The Yankees scored just nine runs in their three losses in Oakland. Last night they beat that by one. And they brought themselves to within one game of the Dodgers for the best record in all of baseball, which would determine home field in the World Series should these two powerhouses meet.
For now, though, Roberts is limiting the implications of all of this to Friday night, saying “fortunately, it only counts for one loss.” Yep. But man, it was an ugly one.