Cards win third straight, Berkman and Holliday exit early; Pujols sets record

After getting swept by the Reds, the Cardinals have bounced back and won 3 straight.  After taking two straight from the Phillies, the Cardinals were able to overcome Bud Norris last night, beating the Astros 5-1.  The loss might have been a costly one though, as both Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday left the game early.  Holliday pulled up running to first base, and Berkman injured his wrist making a great diving catch.  The good news is that the X-rays were negative for Berkman, so hopefully it’s just a sprain.  I imagine the Cardinals will be playing without both of them for the next couple of days just to be safe.  Holliday and Berkman are carrying the team so far this year, so let’s hope they both return quickly.

Albert Pujols set a record last night, making it his 23rd straight game without a HR, the longest drought in his career.  Pujols just doesn’t look good at the plate this year.  He seems to be rolling over on every outside pitch to the shortstop.  He has 4 doubles, the same amount that Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto have.  He has 18 walks and 18 strikeouts.  He’s hitting .269, with a .337 OBP, and an OPS of .752.  For his career, the average Pujols season is 94 walks, 67 strikeouts, a .330 AVG, a .423 OBP and an OPS of 1.042.  If his numbers continue on this way for another month, I think it will be safe to say that there’s a problem.

If Pujols is able to turn it around, the Cardinals will continue to be a dangerous team and a team with hope, even without Adam Wainwright.  I’m not sure how far the Cardinals could advance in the playoffs without Wainwright, a lot of that will depend on whether Chris Carpenter is just going through a slump or is on the downside of his career as well.  Like I’ve said many times in the past, I don’t think it would be a wise move for the Cardinals to sign Pujols to a long term deal.  I don’t know whether or not he will turn it around this year, but I think what you are seeing from his is what you will see from him in the next 4-5 years.  So far, I think Bill Dewitt might be breathing a sigh of relief that Pujols didn’t accept the 8 year offer  that was reported to be somewhere in the $210 to $240 million range, I know I am.

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