New York Mets: Albert Pujols

Rapid Reaction: Angels 14, Mets 2

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bartolo Colon surrendered four homers and nine earned runs in five innings and the New York Mets lost Sunday’s rubber game to the Los Angeles Angels, 14-2.

Three of the long balls came consecutively in the first inning, by Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez.

The last time a Mets pitcher allowed three straight homers? That was Johan Santana in the start after his no-hitter, when the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones consecutively went deep in the Bronx on June 8, 2012.

Hank Conger capped Sunday’s long-ball barrage with a two-run homer in the fifth. It marked the eighth extra-base hit against Colon, a career high.

Colon had tossed seven scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday to begin the trip.

Colon’s nine runs allowed were only one shy of matching his career high -- 10 runs (five earned) on April 26, 2005 as a member of the Angels. That day, the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez homered three times against Colon en route to a 10-RBI game.

The Angels added two runs in the sixth against Scott Rice, who issued a bases-loaded walk and run-scoring wild pitch. John Lannan uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch and surrendered a two-run homer to Ian Stewart in the eighth.

With the five-homer game by the Angels, Mets pitchers have now surrendered an MLB-high 21 homers, in 12 games.

Yer out: David Wright and Daniel Murphy were ejected in the seventh inning by plate umpire Toby Basner for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. A scout at the game was highly critical of Basner’s strike zone low. It was Wright’s fourth career ejection.

What’s next: The Mets head to Phoenix for the final stop on their three-city trip -- a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Zack Wheeler (0-2, 5.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Josh Collmenter (0-0, 2.25) in Monday’s 9:40 p.m. ET opener.

Series preview: Mets at Angels

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11

USA TODAY SportsThe Mets are due to face Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson this weekend in Anaheim.
METS (4-5, fourth place/NL East) at LOS ANGELES ANGELS (4-5, third place/AL West)

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-0, 4.50) vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-0, 0.00), 10:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (0-1, 3.18) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (0-2, 6.00), 9:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.08) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (1-1, 4.61), 3:35 p.m. ET

Angels short hops

• Left fielder Josh Hamilton, the reigning American League co-Player of the Week, fully tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb on a headfirst slide into first base Tuesday and may miss as much as two months. Ex-Met Collin Cowgill should see increased playing time in Hamilton’s absence, potentially platooning with J.B. Shuck. Cowgill, the Mets’ Opening Day starter in center field a season ago, was traded last June 25 to the Angels for minor-league outfielder Kyle Johnson, who currently is playing for Double-A Binghamton. Hamilton had been hitting .444 with two homers and six RBIs in 27 at-bats.

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesWith Josh Hamilton injured, that means more Collin Cowgill in the starting lineup for the Angels.

• Ex-Mets reliever Joe Smith signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal with the Angels as a free agent on Nov. 27. One reason for choosing L.A., aside from the money: His fiancée, Allie LaForce, is a CBS Sports host based at an Orange County studio. She is a former Cleveland sports anchor. While with the Cleveland Indians last season, the sidearmer jawed with now-ex-Met Justin Turner after a heated plate appearance.

• Center fielder Mike Trout, a 22-year-old Millville, N.J., native, signed a six-year, $144.5 million extension with the Angels on March 28. Based on average annual value, the contract became the largest ever for a player who had not yet reached three years of MLB service, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The deal is worth $24.08 million per year, which tops Buster Posey’s $18.56 million average annual salary that runs through 2021. By total value, Posey’s $167 million guarantee ranks No. 1 for a player with less than three years of MLB service, although that contract covers nine years. Trout would not have been eligible for arbitration for the first time until after this season. He was not eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season.

Albert Pujols, 34, had career lows last season with a .258 average, 17 homers, 64 RBIs, 99 games played and 443 plate appearances. He has a 10-year, $240 million contract that includes full no-trade protection. The contract runs through 2021, escalating to $30 million the final year. After a slow start to 2014, Pujols has homered in two straight games, giving him 494 long balls for his career. He would become the 26th player to reach the 500-homer plateau. Pujols also crossed 1,500 career RBIs this week, making him the only active player at that level -- unless you count Alex Rodriguez as active.

• The Angels are an MLB-best 84-44 in interleague play since 2007.

• When manager Mike Scioscia took over as manager of the Angels for the 2000 season, he essentially succeeded Terry Collins in that role (although Joe Maddon had managed the final 29 games in 1999).

• The Angels acquired third baseman David Freese and right-handed reliever Fernando Salas from the St. Louis Cardinals on Nov. 22 for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.

• Left-hander Tyler Skaggs limited Houston to one unearned run in eight innings in his season debut. The 22-year-old southpaw had been traded by the Angels to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 7, 2010 in the Dan Haren deal. He was reacquired from the D-backs in a three-team deal this past offseason that included Mark Trumbo landing in Phoenix.

• Catcher Chris Iannetta is hitless in his past 15 at-bats.

• DH Raul Ibanez, who is 41 years old and off to a 5-for-26 start, is two hits shy of 2,000 for his career. He would become the 12th active player with 2,000 hits and 300 homers.

• The Angels desperately need lefty relief help in a division that now includes Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo and Robinson Cano. The two planned left-handers in the bullpen have experienced medical issues. Rule 5 pick Brian Moran will require season-ending Tommy John surgery. And Sean Burnett, limited to 13 appearances last season due to an elbow injury that required surgery, had renewed discomfort during spring training and is not active. The lone lefty in the bullpen right now is Nick Maronde, who made his first career Opening Day roster. But lefty batters are hitting .323 with a .450 on-base percentage against Maronde in his three-year big-league career. Among the lefty relievers in Triple-A for the Angels: ex-Met Robert Carson.

• Hitting coach Don Baylor broke his right thigh bone catching the ceremonial first pitch from Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day. Baylor, 64, hopes to return to the Angels by late May, but the standard recovery time for a fractured femur can be four to six months.

Jered Weaver, plagued by shoulder tendinitis for the past three seasons, has allowed nine runs (eight earned) in 12 innings through two starts. He has surrendered four homers. Weaver’s fastball velocity is averaging 85.9 mph this season. It has steadily declined each season since 2010, from 89.9 to 89.1 to 87.8 to 86.5 and now to its current level.

4th-round pick for Reyes? It's possible

December, 6, 2011
The Marlins may turn over only a fourth-round pick to the Mets if Albert Pujols signs with Miami.

That's because Miami's first-round pick is protected at ninth overall, the second-round pick would go to St. Louis for losing Pujols and the third-round pick is blocked because San Diego lost Heath Bell to the Marlins.

If Pujols does not become a Marlin, the Mets get Miami's third-round pick (ninth in round).

Either way, the Mets get a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.

Read the previous explanation of why the Mets get no better than Miami's third-round pick here.

Reyes, Pujols, Buehrle get Marlins offers

November, 11, 2011
The Associated Press reports that Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle have received formal offers from the Marlins. The report reads:

The notoriously thrifty franchise, suddenly in the mood for a spending spree, declined to disclose details of the contract proposal. Free agents Jose Reyes and left-hander Mark Buehrle also received offers after taking ballpark tours earlier this week.

"We've never been penny-pinchers," owner Jeffrey Loria said. "We just haven't had the ability to do it in the old stadium. Now we're looking forward to a new era."

Read the full news story here.

Dr. K on Jose Reyes: He's a goner

November, 11, 2011
Dwight Gooden (@DocGooden16) offered his insights on the Jose Reyes offseason saga in a series of tweets on Friday, asserting that Albert Pujols is the Miami Marlins' No. 1 priority while worrying Jimmy Rollins may leave Philadelphia, opening the door for Reyes to wind up a Phillie.

Tweeted Gooden:

"As I mentioned a while ago... Pujols is the Marlins number 1 choice if it falls through then they turn to Reyes ... Count Milwaukee out Reyes would take less to go elsewhere ... I am a Mets & Yankees fan it will break my heart if Rollins signs w/ Giants & Reyes 2 Philly,could happen if Marlins work out deal w/ Pujols ... I hope I am wrong & Reyes stays in Queens but that's not what my sources are telling me"

Pujols doesn't see Beltran in St. Louis

July, 21, 2011
Albert Pujols would not mind having Carlos Beltran on the St. Louis Cardinals. Still, Pujols believes that the Mets outfielder is not exactly what his team needs or what they are looking for in the trade market.

Beltran, who is in his final year of his seven-year, $119 million contract could be traded by the Mets before the trade deadline of July 31.

"I don't see him here. They will not bring him here," Pujols said to at Citi Field before Thursday's game against the Mets.

"You know, it would be great to have him here, but we already have a centerfielder, we have Jon Jay, who is in the bench and has done a tremendous job," Pujols said.

"We have Lance Berkman, and David Freese, who is our regular third base. We don't need him now. I'd love to, but I think (the Cardinals) are looking for starting pitching and support for the bullpen."

Pujols hit a two-run homer in the victory of St. Louis over New York 6-2, avoiding a three-game sweep.

The Cardinals, who have lost four of their last six games after the All-Star break, will travel to Pittsburgh for a three-game weekend series. The Pirates are second in the NL Central Division, one game over St. Louis and a half game behind Milwaukee.

Pujols said he has never talked with Beltran to see if he had any interest in going to St. Louis.

"Those are private matters. I just don't talk about those things. We can be tremendous teammates, you know, but I give all the space to all players in that kind of situation. That's the same level of respect that I expect from the rest of my friends," he said.

"These are tough decisions, you know, it has to be the best for him and his family. I wish him the very best, either with the Mets or any team," Pujols added.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Cardinals 5 (10)

July, 20, 2011
Recap | Box Score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Jason Isringhausen has found his niche at the back end of the bullpen. Izzy tossed scoreless ninth and 10th innings, striking out Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman consecutively during the 34-pitch appearance. The Mets then won it when Angel Pagan belted a walk-off homer off Fernando Salas. Isringhausen tossed two scoreless innings for the first time since May 27, 2009 with Tampa Bay against Cleveland. It was Pagan's first career walk-off homer and second career walk-off RBI.

The Mets moved a game over .500 at 49-48.

FATHER’S DAY: New father Josh Thole delivered his second RBI of the night, a game-tying single with two out in the eighth that plated Pagan. Thole’s performance came in his first game back after a one-day paternity leave for the birth of son Camden.

A half-inning earlier, the Cardinals had grabbed a 5-4 lead when Gerald Laird’s bunt single up the third-base line with two out and runners on the corners scored Holliday. Laird has the most bunt hits of any catcher in baseball since his major league debut in 2003 with 38, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Holliday singled to open the inning against Bobby Parnell, advanced to second when he hustled and tagged up on a flyout, then moved to third base on a groundout. Holliday had been cheating down the third-base line enough at one point before Parnell delivered the pitch bunted by Laird that third baseman Daniel Murphy started toward the bag for a potential pickoff throw and Holliday had to scamper back.

SICK BAY: Jason Bay left the game in the fourth inning with what the team announced as a tight right hamstring. Willie Harris replaced Bay in left field.

THE KING AND PEDRO: Pujols, who had been out of the starting lineup to avoid his swing being hampered by facing knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, pinch-hit in the seventh inning with the score tied at 4 and Daniel Descalso on third base. Terry Collins countered by inserting right-hander Pedro Beato, who coaxed a foul pop-up to first base from the Cardinals slugger for the final out of the frame.

Tim Byrdak had inherited a runner on third and one out from Dickey earlier in the inning and forced a groundout to shortstop by pinch-hitter Tony Cruz. That prompted Descalso to hold at third base and set up the Beato-Pujols matchup.

SCOUT MASTER: With a pair of Phillies scouts -- including director of major league scouting Gordon Lakey -- among the bevy of officials from other teams in attendance at Citi Field, Carlos Beltran belted a game-tying two-run homer in the fifth off Kyle McClellan. It was Beltran’s 15th homer this season.

The Mets trailed 4-0 until beginning to claw back with a two-run third inning that included Thole’s RBI double and a run-scoring infield single by Dickey, who went 2-for-2.

WHAT’S NEXT: Jon Niese (9-7, 3.73 ERA) opposes right-hander Jake Westbrook (7-4, 5.26) in Thursday’s 12:10 p.m. series finale.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Cardinals 2

July, 19, 2011
Recap | Box Score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: With scouts from a bevy of teams -- including the Phillies -- watching, Carlos Beltran as well as Jose Reyes successfully returned to the lineup in a 4-2 win against the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Beltran, who missed three games and lost five pounds with the flu, went 3-for-3 with two walks. He doubled in each of his first two plate appearances. He then walked in his third and fourth trips to the plate. Beltran is now hitting .564 (22-for-39) with 11 walks in 51 career plate appearances against Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse.

Reyes went 2-for-5 and demonstrated no ill effects from the left hamstring strain that had sent him to the disabled list.

GEE WHIZ: In his first major league action in 12 days, Dillon Gee took a no-hit bid one out into the fifth inning. Gee walked Lance Berkman, then failed to field a comebacker from David Freese. Official scorer Howie Karpin properly ruled it an infield hit, although the crowd groaned. Later in the inning, opposing pitcher Lohse -- placed in the No. 8 hole by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa -- singled up the middle past Gee to score Berkman with the game’s opening run.

Gee surrendered a monstrous solo homer in the seventh to Berkman -- the former Astro’s National League-leading 26th long ball. The shot landed on the Shea Bridge. Gee nonetheless limited St. Louis to two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two in seven innings.

Unlike Lohse, Gee (9-3) could not come through with runners in scoring position. Gee batted with a runner on third base and two out in the second and fourth innings and was retired each time. Mets pitchers entered the series batting an NL-low .080, with long-departed Chris Young accounting for three of the 13 hits.

LIVE AT FIVE: Angel Pagan, who struggled in the leadoff spot, returned to the No. 5 hole with Reyes’ activation and produced a two-run double in the fifth inning with the bases loaded to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Jason Bay then struck out and, after Lucas Duda walked, Ronny Paulino lined out softly to second base as the Mets stranded the bases loaded.

No matter. Daniel Murphy upped the Mets’ lead to three runs an inning later with a two-run double off ex-Met Raul Valdes, with both runs charged to Lohse. Murphy entered the game hitting .360 (71-for-197) since May 21, the second-highest average in the majors during that span, trailing only Reyes’ .406.

POST-K-ROD TRACKER: In the first save opportunity since the trade of Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth inning and notched career save No. 294. Isringhausen produced his first save since Aug. 1, 2008 with the Cardinals against Philadelphia. Izzy's last save as a Met came July 6, 1999.

Bobby Parnell turned over a two-run lead to Izzy for the ninth. Barely. St. Louis loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but Albert Pujols grounded into his second double play of the game. On the preceding play, Parnell benefited from a diving stop by Reyes on a Jon Jay grounder. That grab kept the ball in the infield for a single and loaded the bases but kept St. Louis off the scoreboard.

It marked only the second time in four years Pujols has grounded into two double plays in the same game, according to STATS.

WHAT’S NEXT: R.A. Dickey (4-8, 3.70 ERA) opposes right-hander Kyle McClellan (6-6, 4.24) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday in Game 2 of the series. Josh Thole should return to the active roster after missing one game on paternity leave, with Ruben Tejada expected to be sent to Triple-A Buffalo. Thole’s wife Kathyrn gave birth to the couple’s first child, son Camden, at 8:41 p.m.

One powerful performance

April, 16, 2010
If you were to compile a list of the greatest offensive seasons against the New York Mets, Albert Pujols' 2009 should be at or near the very top.

Jerry Manuel might want to adjust whatever his strategy was against Pujols, who hit .469 against the Mets last season, with four home runs and 14 RBIs. And those gaudy numbers came in only nine games.

A player has hit at least .400 with four home runs against the Mets on 27 different occasions. When the Mets were in their infancy, blundering to a 40-120 mark in 1962, three different players reached those two plateaus: Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and the Dodgers' Ron Fairly.

Musial's numbers were scarily similar to Pujols (.468 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBIs), though it took him nearly twice as many games (17) to get there.

More recently, Brandon Phillips (2007 Reds), Carlos Lee (2005 Brewers) and recently retired Rich Aurilia (2001 Giants) were the last three players to reach those numbers for a season.

Rating the best of the best isn't easy. Chipper Jones 1999 (.400 BA, 7 HR, 16 RBIs) deserves points for the impact of the blows he struck. Dave Kingman's nine-game stretch in 1980 (.441 BA, 8 HR, 19 RBIs) is the most powerful. The .509 batting average, with eight home runs and 27 RBIs by Braves outfielder Rico Carty in 1964 is the best all-around combination, though the pitching staff he performed against was less than impressive.

If the Mets pitch to Pujols this season, he'll have a chance to become only the second player to hit .400 with four or more home runs in a season against them twice. The only other? Steve Garvey for the Dodgers in 1978 and 1980.

Pujols' is a .327 career hitter against the Mets, with 19 home runs. One more big swing puts him into another nice group.

The list of those with a .300 career batting average and 20 or more home runs is pretty impressive: Chipper Jones, Gary Sheffield, Joe Torre, Gary Carter, Vladimir Guerrero, Kingman, Bill White and Willie Davis.

The chances of another performance in the 2009 mold this season are high if the Mets elect to take their chances with him in this series. Pujols has a .431 batting average with seven home runs in 51 at-bats against the three pitchers the Mets will throw in this series (Oliver Perez, Johan Santana and John Maine).

But keep this in mind: Pujols may not see a good pitch the whole series. The man hitting behind him, Matt Holliday, went just 8-for-42 against the Mets last season.



Daniel Murphy
.289 9 57 79
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187