When the Yankees offense has struggled, Joe Girardi has been asked a lot of questions about Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira or Robinson Cano — whichever middle-of-the-order hitter has been the slumping poster boy of the moment. Almost without fail, Girardi has cited Albert Pujols, saying that even the game’s greatest hitters go through slumps now and then.
Well, the Pujols slump seems to have finally ended, and the timing isn’t particularly good for the Yankees.
“I was kind of hoping for about four more days,” Girardi said.
In his past 13 games, Pujols has hit .308 with six home runs. With Pujols producing, the Angels have won six straight, scoring just enough to back a pitching staff that has the second-lowest ERA in the American League. That’s the challenge waiting for the Yankees these next three days: A resugent Pujols and a tough pitching staff that will throw Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in this three-game series.
“It’s (been) a nice stretch for us, but we know going into Anaheim, that’s a tough place to play, especially with their starting pitching,” Teixeira said. “It’s maybe the best in baseball, so we’re going to have to score some runs and keep their offense down. I know their offense is getting a little bit better now, so it’s going to be a good series.”
Put it another way: “Obviously it feels better to win,” Derek Jeter said. “But we just want to play well. If we play well, the wins will be there.”
Associated Press photo