A short list of things that have happened since the last time Albert Pujols hit a baseball so reassuringly as he did on Thursday, when he jacked a solo dinger to add to the St. Louis Cardinals' eventual 9-5 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers:
- The federal government averted a shutdown with a last-second budget deal.
- The United States elected its first black president, Barack Obama.
- The Internet revolutionized communication, changing the media landscape forever.
- Baseball was plagued by its association with steroids at the outset of a new live-ball era.
- Abner Doubleday invented baseball.
- The United Stated adopted its current constitution, abandoning the Articles of Confederation.
- Human history began with the development of cuneiform by the Sumerians.
- Pangaea began breaking apart, throwing North America so far that, millions of years later, its mammals wouldn't even have to pretend to like soccer.
It would be overly optimistic to use this road trip as evidence that the Cardinals are an offensive juggernaut, but I think it's perfectly reasonable to conclude that this team won't, in fact, be remembered for their complete inability to hit anything but the Skip Schumaker special to a waiting second baseman. With the middle of the lineup hitting all at once it's a lot of fun.
Reassuring fact: At .226/.288/.358 Albert Pujols is now within spitting distance of his 2007 slump. Game 13 was actually that Pujols's nadir; after an 0-4 night in a loss to the Pirates he finished the night at .160/.263/.380.
Ridiculous fact: Colby Rasmus is now hitting .377/.459/.604, with two doubles, two triples (one off his career high!), and two home runs. That's still 108 points off his April 2010 OPS.