Albert Pujols, third wheel?

July, 23, 2012
7/23/12
4:00
PM PT
Only one person knows what it's like to be Albert Pujols, of course, but it seems like a safe assumption that this season has felt strange, and not just for the obvious reasons.

After about a decade as the game's best player, Pujols has been the third-most productive hitter on his team this season, behind Mike Trout, who leads the league in multiple offensive categories, and Mark Trumbo, who leads it in slugging percentage. A week or more can go by without Pujols conducting an interview after a game, reporters gravitating to Trout or Trumbo.

"I heard a lot of guys on TV saying maybe that I was trying too hard and Trout and Trumbo will take the pressure off myself," Pujols said. "Come on. I've been doing this for 11 years. I think I may have felt pressure my first and second year, but I've got too many games on this level. I know what I can do and I'm going to try to go out there and give my best for the fans, for the this team, for this organization."

Pujols is hitting .375 with four doubles and four home runs in the 10 games since the All-Star break.

Here is the Angels' lineup for Monday night's game vs. the Kansas City Royals:

Trout LF
Torii Hunter RF
Pujols 1B
Trumbo DH
Howie Kendrick 2B
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Maicer Izturis SS
Peter Bourjos CF
Bobby Wilson C

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jered Weaver
WINS ERA SO IP
18 3.59 169 213
OTHER LEADERS
BAH. Kendrick .293
HRM. Trout 36
RBIM. Trout 111
RM. Trout 115
OPSM. Trout .939
ERAG. Richards 2.61
SOJ. Weaver 169