Friday, May 20, 2011
Will interleague revive struggling stars?
Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki have been three of the game's best hitters over the last 15 years. All three are having their issues this season, but perhaps they are ready to break out, because all three have exceptional track records against this weekend's interleague opponents.
The Cardinals travel west on I-70 to face the Royals, with superstar Albert Pujols in the midst of a career-worst streak of 91 at-bats without a home run. Visiting his hometown may be the remedy for Pujols, who has 15 homers in 45 games against Kansas City.
Pujols is also hitting .383 against the Royals, giving him the best batting average of any active player versus a single team in interleague play. His .347 average against the AL is the best all-time in interleague play.
Derek Jeter's current triple-slash numbers of .257/.309/.327 would all be career lows for a full season. But Jeter is one of the best hitters ever against the Mets, who visit Yankee Stadium this weekend.
His career batting average against the Mets rounds to .380, best among active players. The only player with a higher career average is Rico Carty, who pounded the Mets for an average of exactly .380, which is .00013 ahead of Jeter's more precise average of .37987.
With a batting average of .298, Ichiro is struggling compared to his career average of .330. He's only hitting .237 this month, which would be his worst month since 2006. But Padres pitching awaits Ichiro at PETCO Park this weekend, and he is a career .356 hitter against San Diego, tops among active players.
If and when Ichiro gets on base, he will have the opportunity to add to his interleague record of 62 stolen bases, 11 more than any other player.