It's been a weird season to be an Albert Pujols fan—by extension, it's been a weird season to be a St. Louis Cardinals fan, but I'm speaking strictly in terms of the part of our fandom that leads us to think about everything Pujols does as it will eventually be etched onto his Hall of Fame plaque. In that sense, we've had to stop looking at the big picture when it comes to being optimistic about Pujols's production; his slow start and the herky-jerky nature of his resurgence has forced us into tiny splits that look like the Albert Pujols, back from his long vacation.
With that in mind: Pujols ended his ugly first half on a high note. He's five for his last eight with a double and a home run, he's slugging .500 again, and, most importantly, he's doing all this after coming back from a wrist-or-maybe-forearm fracture that was supposed to throw him to the mat for a month-and-a-half.
It might have done that to April Albert Pujols, the guy who hit .240 and grounded into a ton of double plays, or May Albert Pujols, who couldn't get a ball out of the infield. But this—this, we have to believe, is the real Albert Pujols. He's the guy who always looks hurt but cannot be injured. He's the guy who goes 5-8 across two games, we hope.