Luckily, his teammates are picking up the slack heading into their two-game series against the Cincinnati Reds, a meeting of NL Central co-leaders.
Pujols went 0-for-1 with a season-high four walks and already has drawn 28 bases on balls in 120 plate appearances. But veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds took advantage of the walks to drive in three runs in Sunday’s 9-2 victory over the Nationals as the Cardinals (17-8) set a franchise record for wins in April.
“Eventually you have to come through,” said Edmonds, who went 2-for-5 to raise his batting average to .213. “If they want to walk Albert all year long, I’ll be happy to hit behind him.”
While Edmonds has struggled with his batting average, he has been driving in runs. Pujols leads the team with 32 RBIs, but Edmonds is second with 19 despite getting only 16 hits.
“I haven’t done anything different today than I did the other day,” Edmonds said. “Some times you get hits, and some times you don’t.”
The 17 wins bettered the previous club record of 15 established in 2005. Pujols, who set a major league record with 14 homers in April, also tied a team mark with 32 RBIs in the first month of the season.
Pujols may not see many good pitches to hit after going 6-for-12 with four homers and seven RBIs in a three-game series against the Reds two weeks ago. Lifetime, he is hitting .360 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs in 172 at-bats at Cincinnati.
St. Louis will be without third baseman Scott Rolen for this series as he continues to be sidelined with an upper respiratory illness which has caused him to miss six games.
Mark Mulder (2-0, 3.53 ERA) looks to help the Cardinals win for the ninth time in 11 games. The left-hander did not get a decision Wednesday against Pittsburgh, which he limited to two runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings. The Cardinals have won all five games started by Mulder, who is 4-2 with a 4.26 ERA in eight lifetime starts against the Reds.
The Reds (17-8) also are coming off their best April in franchise history, but had their hopes of a three-game sweep against the Houston Astros dashed with Sunday’s 3-2 defeat that also ended a six-game winning streak.
Like the Cardinals, the Reds will be without a key offensive cog. Center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. is still not 100 percent due to an inflamed tendon behind his right knee and likely will not be activated for this series.
Dave Williams (1-2, 9.53) labored to a win in his last start Tuesday at Washington, where he was reached for four runs and nine hits in five innings of Cincinnati’s 6-5 victory. The left-hander also struggled against the Cardinals on April 15, when he gave up homers to Pujols and Hector Luna in three innings of a 9-3 defeat.
Reds left fielder Adam Dunn is batting just .216 lifetime against the Cardinals, with 17 homers and 37 RBIs in 250 at-bats.
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