Losing Matt Holiday hurt, this hurts just a tad more.
Albert Pujols will be out 4-6 weeks with a fractured left forearm. On a day where the St. Louis Cardinals had beat their instate rivals the Kansas City Royals to move into a tie for first place in the NL Central.
In the sixth inning Royals infielder Wilson Betemit hit a chopper to second baseman Pete Kozma who tried to make an over the shoulder throw to Pujols who stretched off of first base to keep the ball from going out of play. As he stretched, Betemit smashed into his left hand as he tried to beat the throw to, which caused Pujols to throw his glove down as he winced in pain.
Pujols left the game shortly after and missed a Skip Schumaker walk-off home run that put the Cardinals in first place. However, the loss of Pujols means a lot more at this point.
Pujols was starting to heat up after an abysmal start to the season. His .279 batting average is currently the worst of his professional career but it had risen from the .262 clip that he was at right at the beginning of June. His reemergence along with Holiday’s return and Lance Berkman’s surprise start had given the Cardinals the best 3-4-5 spot in the National League and were becoming a major force for pitching staffs to deal with.
With Pujols out, the Cardinals now have a huge hole missing in their lineup until at least August. With their pitching staff currently imploding with an ERA at 5 for the month of June the offense has had to do their fair share of heavy lifting to keep the Cards afloat. Now in order to stay atop of the Central things have to even out for the Cards to keep rolling.
Some options that the Cards have are moving Berkman to first and have John Jay move into right field. Jay is currently hitting .316 so the production batting wise will still be there.
However, there is no replacing Pujols. He has played in over 143 games in every season of his major league career and has not had one serious injury that has set him back. This injury will cost him that streak and do serious damage to the Cardinals playoff chances.
Not to mention it may hurt his market value in free agency. From all angles this injury could not have come at a worse time for Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals.