Dodgers Welcome Albert The Great

The Dodgers welcome the Cardinals to town tonight, for a rematch of last season's division series.  Just like the Dodgers are in a dogfight with the Padres for first place in the west, the Cards are fighting with the Reds, tied for first place in the NL Central with Cincinnati.  The first thing that immediately pops into mind when I think of the Cardinals is one Mr. Albert Pujols.

The Dodgers happen to face Pujols during a hot streak.  Over his last 10 games, Pujols has five home runs and 15 RBI, and has hit .371/.500/.886.  However, Pujols transcends hot and cold streaks.  He could be zero for his last 100, and I would still be worried to see him in the batters box. 

The great thing about Pujols is that it allows us to appreciate another St. Louis great, Stan Musial.  "The Man" and "El Hombre" have been remarkably similar through their age 30 seasons, which is this year for Pujols (also keep in mind Musial missed 1945 while in the Navy during World War II):

A Couple of Cardinal Greats Through Age 30
Player G PA 2B 3B HR R RBI BA/OBP/SLG OPS OPS+
Musial       1370 6070 373 127 206 1044 923 .347/.431/.584 1.015 172
Pujols 1455 6336 400 14 380 1105 1156 .333/.427/.626 1.053 172

This is the tenth season for Pujols, which makes him eligible for the Hall of Fame.  He has been so good that even if he hadn't been eligible and was somehow hit by a bus, he would still sail into Cooperstown with ease.  Then again, if Pujols was ever hit by a bus, I'd be more concerned with the damage done to the bus.

Sherrill Ready to Return

George Sherrill is ready to return after making four minor league appearances in his rehabilitation assignment while on the disabled list with mid-back tightness.  After giving up two singles and a double in the first of two outings with Class A Inland Empire, Sherrill met with Rafael Chaves, a roving minor league pitching instructor for the Dodgers who also happened to be Sherrill's pitching coach in Double A, Triple A, and the Seattle Mariners.

Sherrill made a few adjustments, and proceeded to strike out five while walking none, allowing just two hits in 2 2/3 innings in his next three appearances, the last two in back-to-back outings over the weekend with Triple A Albuquerque.  Sherrill threw 36 total pitches during his rehab assignment and never once threw back-to-back balls.  Sherrill also picked off a runner at first base while with Inland Empire.  He is eligible to be activated Tuesday.

Lineups

Russell Martin is out of the lineup for the second straight game, the first time he has not started two straight games since June 30 - July 1, 2009.

Cardinals      Dodgers
3B Lopez SS Furcal
SS Ryan CF Kemp
1B Pujols RF Ethier
LF Holliday LF Manny
RF Ludwick 1B Loney
CF Winn 3B Belliard
2B Schumaker 2B DeWitt
C LaRue C Ellis
P Hawksworth   P Monasterios  

Other Notes

  • Jon Link has been called up from Triple A, and Charlie Haeger has been placed on the disabled list, again, this time with a sprained right big toe.  With Sherrill due back tomorrow, Mr. Link's stay with the big club will be quite short
  • Carlos Monasterios has pitched 14 innings as a starter so far this season, and has not allowed a run in 11 of those innings.
  • Monasterios is the dean of tonight's starting pitchers, making his fourth major league start, compared to Blake Hawksworth, making his first career start for the Cardinals.
  • Colby Rasmus of the Cardinals won the National League player of the week for last week, during which he hit .500/.577/1.000, with three home runs, nine runs batted in, and eight runs scored.
  • Satchel Price and Steve Sommer of the amazing Beyond the Boxscore are running a series of the 50 best players in baseball over the next five years.  The methodology for their rankings is here.  For the Dodgers, Matt Kemp came in at number 13, and Clayton Kershaw was ranked 46th, just behind Kyle Blanks (wait, what?).
  • Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven has many "Vintage Dodger Snapshots" of both Maury Wills and Sweet Lou Johnson.
  • Don't forget to set your DVR for the one-time only encore presentation of "Scully and Wooden, For the Kids" on Prime Ticket after tonight's postgame show.

Get your guess in for Xeifrank's simulation game here.

Game Time: 7:10 p.m

TV: Prime Ticket

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday

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