Albert Pujols would be the first to say that tonight is about making the playoffs and not individual streaks and statistics. But I wanted to point out one other thing to watch.
Cardinals fans all know the streaks that Albert has established in his first 10 years of play:
.300 batting average every year
100 RBI every year
30 home runs every year
Albert is 2 RBI away from 100 this year. He’s right at a batting average of .300. These streaks are both at stake tonight.
There is one other streak to add to the list. (I acknowledge that streaks and round numbers are meaningless in sabermetrics; but they are beautiful numbers and the kinds of numbers used to judge immortality. Mea culpa.)
Here’s the other streak at stake: Doubles. Albert has 29 this season. He has had 30 each of his previous 10 seasons. His ten seasons of hitting both 30 home runs and 30 doubles is a record. It is tied with the most anyone has ever had in an entire career combining all seasons (Carlos Delgado and Manny Ramirez). It is one more than Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx had in their careers (who are next on the list).
Albert enters the night with 455 doubles and 455 home runs in his career.
Through the first 11 seasons of a career, Albert is first on the doubles list (tied with Todd Helton) and first on the home runs list (46 home runs ahead of Eddie Matthews). Only one other person appears in the top 20 of both lists (Jeff Bagwell). Click on the image below to read it better.
Because of the lack of overlap in these lists and the rarity of triples, Albert is (of course) first in extra base hits through the first 11 seasons (915). And he’s ahead of the next four on the list by 100 extra base hits (Aaron, 796; Helton, 789; Gehrig, 786; Robinson, 777; Musial at 775 is number 6).
Albert has frequently claimed that he is not a home run hitter:
"I’m not a home run hitter. I’m a line drive hitter who is pretty strong and can hit the ball out of the park. I don’t tell myself that I’m a home run hitter. I go out there and try to use the gaps, try to hit the ball in the gap."
"I'm not a home run hitter," Pujols recently told reporters. "I'm a line-drive hitter with power. All I try to do is just hit for average, and hopefully, if I put a good swing on it, the ball's going to go out of the park."
The doubles tell the same story. Here’s hoping for a first inning double that knocks in two.; and then home runs in the next at bats.
Statistics are all courtesy of baseball-reference.com.