But really, unequivocally and absolutely shitty. 10 games in and the dude looks completely lost, totally un-confident, and for the first time I can ever remember, 100% mortal.
Ok. I know what you’re thinking. it’s 1/16 of the way through 2011. He’s earned a bad week and a half out of 10 All-Star years. The guy is going to turn it around. And all that is more than fair. But with the same breath, I can’t help but wonder what the hell is going on here. The Pujols DOESN’T slump. He comes back from a 60 Minutes knob slobbing with like 24 RBI’s and 10 HR’s the next game.
The Pujols is not a man… he’s a machine.
So he goes out against the D-Backs and leaves the sacks drunk, grounds in to another DP and generally continues to look like the human embodiment of constipation.
Theory 1: The Contract. He wants to be P-A-I-D. 30 mil for 10 years. He knew that this was going to be a dark cloud hanging over the season, but had always been able to put the blinders on and continue to stroke it. Hard. Now 10 games down and Pujols is thinking about how every 0-fer he puts up just gives the Cardinals the leverage they had so little of during the past 2 seasons when negotiating an extension was everyone’s priority. PROBABILITY? 30%
Theory 2: He’s hurt. The Pujols is one tough son of a bitch. He’d punch your dad in the face and wreck his shit. He’s not going to bitch about a known ailment (elbow) or unknown problem to the media. Maybe the guy is struggling because something is going on with that body that we’re not aware of. PROBABILITY? 20%
Theory 3: Bad Luck. It’s not like he’s striking out at a record pace. He just happens to be hitting the ball hard in places with a fielder standing post. Lots of DP’s are the symptom of hitting the ball hard. He can’t outrun the double up since he’s smacking it to the left side of the infield, right? A couple of inches here or there and Pujols is having an average start and is 2 big games away from being on his normal pace. PROBABILITY? 60%
Theory 4: He’s old. His birth certificate (?) says he’s 31. Maybe he’s 37 and this is the start of what would be the period of time where a star would decline. PROBABILITY? 10%
Theory 5: He’s off the juice. Man-Ram didn’t fail a drug test. Until he failed a drug test. We all saw the 60 Minutes piece and his HS pictures. Dude wasn’t exactly ‘beefy’. PROBABILITY? 5%
Or it’s slump. Baseball players are known to have them.
The problem is that for anyone else a .260/25/90 year would be a great investment. But the Cardinals are going to have to make a choice this fall if they want to invest in Pujols for the next 8-10 years for heavy, heavy jack. And quite frankly, this franchise can’t afford the dude to have the line above. Or even really close to that.
So while The Pujols has earned the right to slump, it’s not just costing the Cardinals scoring opportunities, but it’s making everything far more difficult to figure out.