Albert Pujols homered Friday night in support of Jaime Garcia. It was his 10th of the year, and his first in June after hitting just two all May. Mired in a season-long slump that has his OPS under .800, Pujols has his fans looking for just about any reassurance they can get that the team-carrying version of Pujols is lurking somewhere in the Cardinals' surprisingly successful 2011 season. The home run, his hundredth at Busch Stadium 3, isn't a classic Pujols shot—he gets out in front of an off-speed pitch and pulls it 383 feet into the left field stands—but after that barren May it's his second in five games, which is good news.â†µ
The Cardinals have, to date, been saved from Pujols's slump by the startling return to form of Lance Berkman, who back in the mid-aughts served as Pujols's primary slugging foil in the National League Central. But it's difficult to imagine Berkman—as well as his backups, Jon Jay and Allen Craig—keeping up their unbelievable paces. And when the time comes for those guys to regress to the mean, it'd be nice to see Albert Pujols paying them a visit on the way up.