ARLINGTON, Texas -- Game 3 of the 2011 World Series is a game that every Texas Rangers fan wants to forget.
It was a 16-7 Rangers loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. However, that game was weighing on my mind when I visited the Los Angeles Angels clubhouse Friday in search of Albert Pujols, who that day was 5-for-6 with two singles, three home runs, five runs scored and six RBI.
This season, Pujols is batting .198 with a home run and 11 RBI heading into this three-game series with the Rangers. Like many who follow the Rangers, I fear that a return to RBiA could get his season going.
"That was last year, this is a new season -- a new time in life," Pujols said. "You need to take it one day at a time and don't think about what you've done, but what you can do to help our ballclub to win tonight."
After he downplayed his past success in Arlington, I asked him about facing Yu Darvish for the first time tonight. His response was as calm and simple as when I asked Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees about facing Darvish.
"See the ball and hit it. That's pretty much it," Pujols said.
Fair enough. Pujols, though, has had a complex beginning to the season. He is batting .188 on the road. He is hitting better (but that's really not saying much) against righties than lefties (.239 to .105). Pujols perhaps still has one fear factor stat at this point: He is batting .400 (2-for-5) with runners in scoring position and two outs. That's also when he had three of his eight RBI.
It's still a fear factor, right? Wait, this is "a new time in life."
What about this series? The Angels are seven games back of the first-place Texas Rangers. How big is this series?
"Every series is big. So, it doesn't matter who you play against," he said. "Every series is big, and we still have a lot of baseball left."
Darvish vs. Pujols will be fun to watch.
Bryan Dolgin is the Texas Rangers radio pre and post game show host on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network. Follow him on Twitter @RangersRadioBD.