With a slow baseball news day and with Albert Pujols penciled into tonight’s lineup, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the lone sacrifice bunt that Pujols has laid down in his Major League career. Let’s take a trip to a simpler time, specifically June 16th, 2001, as the Cardinals played the White Sox.
With the Cardinals up 6-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Placido Polanco drew a leadoff walk and JD Drew followed with a single. Sean Lowe was brought in to pitch and Pujols laid down a bunt on an 0-1 pitch (unfortunately, PitchFX had not yet come into being, so we’ll never know what type of pitch it was). The ball bounced back to Lowe who threw Pujols out at first, but he had accomplished his mission of moving Polanco and Drew over.
Naturally, this was done so the fearsome Bobby Bonilla could bat with runners in scoring position, but the White Sox cleverly walked him, foiling Pujols’ well-laid plans. A batter later, Craig Paquette made the White Sox pay with an RBI single that extended the lead to 8-3, finishing the scoring for the day.
Pujols was hitting .350/.412/.654 at the time and I’m sure Tony LaRussa sat him down after the game and sternly told him he would not be doing that any more. 6,820 plate appearances later and Albert Pujols has still yet to square up and set one down. As much as I love the sacrifice bunt, I must admit that this is the right call.
Conversely, Juan Pierre has laid down 132 sacrifice bunts since 2001, leading the Majors in that time span. Pierre is currently tied for the league lead in sacrifices with eleven, making him a Pujols-ian champ when it comes to giving himself up.
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