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Albert Pujols: LA Angels' Superstar Poised for Monster Finish

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 13:  Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrates after hitting a two run homerun in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 13, 2012 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
James MorisetteCorrespondent IIISeptember 2, 2012

With the way rookie Mike Trout has performed for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim this year, it seems like national attention on Albert Pujols has fallen off the radar a little.

Rightly so. With just over a month left to play on the MLB schedule Trout is on the edge of earning not only the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year, but is also a candidate for AL MVP.

Impressive to say the least. While cameras flash in Trout's direction, Pujols is very quietly on track to have another monster season for the Angels.

The fact that this is happening speaks volumes about this All-Star's resolve. For after a tough April that watched Pujols bat just .217 with zero home runs and four RBI, this dynamic slugger has slowly made up for lost time.

Using ESPN statistics, here are Pujols' monthly splits since April.

MONTH AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
May
114
30
2
0
8
24
  8
14
.263
.309
.491
.800
Jun
 95
31
11
0
4
19
14
 8
.326
.409
.568
.977
Jul
 94
31
7
0
8
20
12
13
.330
.411
.660
1.071
Aug*
 93
29
7
0
9
24
  5
13
.312
.350
.677
1.027

* Missed five games to injury.

As the calendar turns to September, Pujols is batting .288 with 29 home runs and 92 RBI. He also has 35 doubles to go with an OBP/SLG/OPS of .349/.538/.886.

Of course some may say Pujols' success this summer has been a direct reflection of Trout's play since his call-up on April 28.

Though it is true Trout has had a huge impact on the Angels lineup this year, it is also true Pujols did not have Trout batting in front of him as a player for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Yet looking at Pujols' September splits the past five years (per ESPN), he still played like a man doing his part to get his team into the the playoffs.

YEAR AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
2011
107 38 7 0 5 20 8 8 .355 .393 .561   .954
2010
  93 29 8 0 7 23 21 15 .312 .445 .624 1.069
2009
  96 36 9 0 6 24 14 8 .375 .452 .656 1.108
2008
  84 27 8 0 8 27 17 7 .321 .427 .702 1.129
2007   88 34 13 1 2 19 18 2 .386 .486 .625 1.111


Last year, Pujols batted .299 (173-for-579) with 29 doubles, 37 home runs and 99 RBI. His OBP/SLG/OPS was .366/.541/.907.

The Cardinals won their last two games and reached the playoffs as a wild card. St. Louis then went on to win the World Series over the Texas Rangers.

This season, Pujols is on track for 173 hits, 44 doubles, 35 home runs and 112 RBI.

He's still heating up, as in the last seven days Pujols is hitting .400 (8-for-20) with a home run, two doubles and six RBI.

More importantly for Angels fans, this team has now won eight of the last 10 games, pulling to within 2.5 games of a Wild Card spot in the process.

With Pujols' hot bat and a clicking lineup to join a starting rotation that appears to be turning the corner, the Angels have suddenly become a looming danger for other AL playoff hopefuls.

Thus, if the teams currently ahead of the Angels for the Wild Card were wise, they would just keep on winning.

Because if the Angels stay on their current path, Pujols and company will be right there in the end.

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