On April 17, it was announced that the Los Angeles Dodgers had signed free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols. The signing came out of the blue for many when the future Hall of Famer had been released by the Angels after a lack of playing time.
However, the 41-year-old first baseman has been quite an asset for the Dodgers, settling into a key role with the team. Pujols has been getting more AB against left-handed pitching. So far against lefties he is 14-for-36, good enough for a batting average of .388 and six extra-base hits, which can be said that Pujols has produced over what was expected. He has done a nice job of contributing, especially with all the injuries that the Dodgers have sustained. His OPS against left handers is 1.177.
For the price the Dodgers paid for Pujols, it is an absolute steal. The Angels are still on the hook for $30 million of Pujols salary, while the Dodgers are only paying about $450,000.
In 22 games with the Dodgers, Pujols has homered five times, smacked 13 RBI, and averaged .258. Initially, many expected Pujols to sign with an American League club due to the designated hitter role, or perhaps even finish out his career with the Cardinals as a bench player.
Since signing Pujols, the Dodgers are 18-8, while the Angels are 20-16 without Pujols.
With the Angels, he only had a batting average of .198. Nearly every statistical category at the plate is up for Pujols since signing with the Dodgers.
To analyze the signing, at first, it was quite the head-scratcher as nothing had been rumored and it was unsure exactly what role Pujols would slide into.
But personally, I believe the change of scenery allowed him to rejuvenate himself. At this stage of his career, Pujols has found the perfect role as pinch-hitter, an occasional starter, and a mentor to some of the younger guys.
In what might be his final season, it would be great if Pujols can top it off with another World Series ring. His signing with the Dodgers gives him a great chance to do so.
Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies will be a special one in Los Angeles. For the first time since Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS, Dodger Stadium will have a full capacity crowd.
The Dodgers will wear their gold championship edition jerseys today for the so-called “Reopening Day.”
Getting the start will be the pitcher who delivered the final pitch to bring the Dodgers their first World Series Championship since 1988. Julio Urias will reopen Dodger Stadium. Urias has been a stud this season, posting a 9-2 record with a 3.56 ERA. In his last start against the Pirates, he went six innings in the victory, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts.
Urias will face Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin, who is 2-5 this season with a 3.89 ERA.
The first pitch for Tuesday’s middle game is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific.