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September 23, 2007 at 10:49 pm ET
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One Reason Left To Watch

Is Bert to hurt to make history... again?It’s no secret that the reigning World Series champs have had a dismal season. It’s also public knowledge that the Cardinals are officially toast, getting mathematically eliminated with a loss to Houston on Friday night. But there is still one reason to keeping tuning in to Redbird games this season, even if just for the length of an at bat. (No, I’m not talking about Aaron Miles toeing the rubber). That reason is personified in the form of a 6’-3”, 230 lb hitting machine… one Albert Pujols.

El Cinco, while playing through a rash of injuries and ailments, has still put together All Star numbers this season, and he is once again on the verge of breaking his own storied record. Albert currently stands as the only player in baseball history with 6 consecutive seasons (to start a career) of at least a .300 average, 30 homeruns, 100 RBI and 100 runs. Despite all he’s been through this season (see injuries and a crummy surrounding lineup) he is dangerously close to making history once again with his 7th straight year of those benchmark stats. The average is a lock at .323, and he’s safe in the homerun category with 31, but King Albert still needs one RBI and 7 runs to reach the magic number. The only magic number anyone in Cardinal Nation should be concerned with right now.

Here’s the rub: the Cardinals have only 7 games remaining this season and Albert is more banged up than ever. The newest owee on a laundry list of aches and pains this season is a sore calf, which has limited him to pinch hitting duty over the last 6 games. There is some chatter around the clubhouse that it could put him down for the season. He can’t run, which means if his calf doesn’t get better, and get better quick, he’s going to need 7 pinch hit homeruns to keep his streak alive. That’s not very likely considering he’s hit exactly one homerun since August 22nd on that gimpy hamstring of his. The injuries are doubly frustrating because Albert rips Brewer and Pirate pitching, the 2 teams the Birds will see in the regular season’s final week. He tattoos Pirate hurlers to the tune of a .352 AVG with 33 HR, 93 RBI and a 1.136 OPS in only 395 ABs. And he doesn’t go much easier on the Brew Crew with a .350 AVG, 24 HR, 91 RBI and a 1.075 OPS in 391 ABs. Who knows if he’ll get the opportunity to build on those numbers though.  He’s just so broken down right now.

Feels like someone is putting your dog to sleep doesn’t it? Albert Pujols is all this town has right now, and if he can find a way to stay healthy enough to scratch out a few more hits, ribbies and runs Cardinal fans may not feel like this season was a complete waste. It’s too bad Mr. Miyagi bought the farm because Albert could really use some of that magic handclap shit that saved Daniel LaRusso’s leg. Hopefully trainer Barry Weinberg has a few tricks up his sleeve, or the big mang upstairs shows some sympathy, because we’re riding on a wing and a prayer here.

Get better Albert. We need something to hold on to, and this season has been just too painful to watch your incredible streak of majestic baseball seasons fall by the wayside. We’re all pulling for you.

Sorry, poor choice of words.

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