St. Louis was dropped from many MLB picks @ BetUs prior to Opening Day for a couple of reasons: one was the injury to ace Adam Wainwright, and the second was the controversy surrounding slugger Albert Pujols’ contract. It doesn’t help that Pujols is off to arguably the worst start of his career, but that’s still no reason to jump off the “King Albert” bandwagon.
There is no doubt that Pujols has struggled over the first 11 games of the season, batting .200 with a homer and four RBIs so far in 2011. But he isn’t the only one as the Cardinals are hitting .256 as a team, and you also have to factor in that Matt Holliday has played only four games this season because of an appendectomy. He’s back now, but it’s going to take some time for Holliday to get back into the swing of things, so to speak. Pitchers haven’t been as afraid to pitch to Pujols without Holliday backing him up, and if anything, we think that has been the thing that has been in Pujols’ mind more than the contract deal. Pujols has to feel like he is shouldering the entire load, even with Lance Berkman in town, and we think a healthy return to form from Holliday is what the doctor ordered for Pujols.
Pujols shouldn’t worry about the contract: he’s going to get paid by someone, and it’ll likely be the Cardinals as their fanbase would riot if they didn’t pony up for arguably the greatest player in the history of the franchise (don’t forget about Stan Musial). All he needs to focus on his production, and Pujols is far too good of a hitter to let this rut go on for long. When Holliday is back in the lineup and at full strength, along with Berkman and Colby Rasmus, that will be more than enough protection for Pujols to start getting some good pitches. Trust us, there is no way that Albert Pujols, the best hitter of the last decade, is going to continue this poor start.