There are many reasons we might see a number of home runs Wednesday in Anaheim.
Four Yankees have hit four HR off Santana: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. And, Jeter’s career 1.179 OPS against Santana is the highest of his career against any pitcher he has faced (minimum 50 plate appearances).
For the Angels, recent history says Albert Pujols will go deep. He has hit a home run on May 30 in each of the last five seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last player to hit a home run in five-or-more consecutive years on a specific date was Lance Berkman, who hit a home run on Sept. 21 in seven straight seasons, 2001-2007.
In 10 games played on this date, Pujols has hit 10 home runs with 17 RBI and has a batting average of .576 (19-33).
Albert Pujols Through 50 Games
According to Elias, the record for most home runs on a single date is 12, shared by Barry Bonds (Aug. 18), Jimmie Foxx (June 8) and Gil Hodges (May 30).
Pujols played his 50th game of the season on Tuesday, and has set or matched career lows through 50 games in most statistical categories (see chart).
Whether it’s coincidence or not, ever since Mickey Hatcher was fired as Angels hitting coach after May 15, Pujols has bounced back. With Hatcher, Pujols was hitting .212 with one home run and a .536 OPS. Since Hatcher’s firing, Pujols has hit .304 with seven HR and an OPS over 1.000
With Pujols rounding into form, the Angels have won a season-high eight straight games and are above .500 for the first time since Opening Day. The Angels have not had a nine-game win streak since 2005, and are looking for their first home sweep of the Yankees since July 2009.