By Josh Kramer
I thought June 19th was the beginning of the end for the St. Louis Cardinals. Adam Wainwright, the ace and anchor of the usually very strong Cardinals staff had been lost for the year back in Spring Training. I still thought the Cardinals would be tough despite the absence of their ace. But then the anchor of their lineup looked like he would be sidelined for six weeks. Game over for St. Louis right?
Albert Pujols has been known as the “Machine” (in large part due to this SportsCenter commercial) for some time now and his name is also the typical response when somebody asks who is the best baseball player on the planet. Well the Cardinals, who despite a “down year” by Pujols standards and abysmal pitching were still in the thick of the NL Central race on June 19th. Machines can have malfunctions. But generally machines can be fixed in a matter of minutes. Normally the device needs to be reset or new batteries need to be put in. Well apparently Albert Pujols is similar to an actual machine. A 15-day recovery from a fractured forearm? The man is apparently tough too (or a very quick healer).
Without their “Machine,” the Cardinals managed to tread water and go 6 and 7 (going into tonight’s duel with the rival Reds). This was good enough to remain atop the NL Central. Now with the return of baseball’s best player, you better believe that St. Louis has new life. Pujols did not make the All Star team this year. Too many first baseman are having outstanding years during arguably the worst year of Albert’s illustrious career. Did the “Machine” really need any motivation?
NL Central beware. The “Machine” has actually proven that he is very similar to a machine. Expect a monster second half from the best player in the MLB.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.