In the series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to go with his best lineup, which meant Albert Pujols had to ride the pine.
But on Tuesday night, there was fun to be had. In a clear message to the opposition, Roberts batted Pujols third against JA Happ, which was easily the most favorable opportunity for the future Hall of Famer to homer against his former team.
In his first at-bat of the night … that’s exactly what he did.
Happ retired Trea Turner and Justin Turner to start off the game, but must’ve forgotten that grooving in an 89 MPH garbage ball to a man who knows Busch Stadium all too well was a bad, bad idea.
Dodgers slugger Albert Pujols homered in his return to St. Louis.
Cardinals fans chanted for the Dodgers to put Pujols in during the later innings of Monday night’s game, but Roberts didn’t bite. Be careful what you wish for, St. Louis! The ultimate bittersweet moment, eh?
At least the standing ovation before the at-bat felt a lot better for the fans than Pujols trotting the bases after he put one over the left field fence.
As they say: “How can you not be romantic about baseball?”
Pujols’ years in St. Louis will be the reason he gets into Cooperstown, but his finale with the Dodgers could be what makes him an even greater all-time legend. Since being acquired from the Angels, the 41-year-old has hit .261 with a .782 OPS, 12 home runs and 37 RBI in 166 at-bats across 70 games.
Now, he could be helping boot his former team from the postseason. The Cards, with Monday night’s loss, fell 3.5 games back of the second NL Wild Card spot. If they lose again on Tuesday, it could be serious trouble since the Padres are playing the Angels and Reds are playing the Cubs.
As for the Dodgers? They lead that first wild card spot by … a cool 13.5 games. Albert wants that NL West crown, though.