The Los Angeles Angels won their fifth game in a row on Monday night, and Albert Pujols led the way offensively with a pair of home runs. Mike Trout also homered, so he was a topic of discussion during postgame interviews once again.
Did that annoy Pujols?
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With the Angels leading 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth, the Tampa Bay Rays decided to intentionally walk Trout to get to Pujols. Albert validated the decision by flying out, and a reporter asked him about that after the game.
“I don’t think about that, dude,” he said, per Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register. “It’s part of the game. They can do that 100 more times. That doesn’t matter to me. … Whether I’m hitting .500, you don’t want the best player on the team (Trout) to beat you. That happened (to me) early in my career. … Most of the time, I’m going to make them pay. Other times, I don’t get the hits that I should.”
Pujols was then asked how much he enjoys watching Trout play.
“I have fun watching all 25 guys on this ballclub,” he said. “This is not the Mike Trout show. This is the Angels’ organization, 25 guys, and our mission is to try to win.”
Pujols then went on to shower Trout in praise, calling him “one of the best players in the game” and lauding his eagerness to learn and improve. Still, you can’t help but wonder if there is a little jealousy at play when Pujols – once considered by many to be the best hitter in the game – has to answer questions about a young teammate amid a stretch where Albert has five homers in his past five games.
If not for the comments Pujols made about Trout last year, we wouldn’t read into this as much. While I don’t doubt that Pujols is a big Trout fan and loves playing with him, it seems like there is some bitterness there.