Albert Pujols hit two homers Monday in another home run fest for the streaking Angels.
Pujols has finally found his swing, hitting five home runs in the last five games. But what will be remembered most from his game might be his postgame comment about friend and teammate Mike Trout.
Pujols was asked how much fun he has watching Trout, who hit a 3-run home run in the Angels’ 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I have fun watching all 25 guys on this ball club," Pujols said. "It’s not the Mike Trout show. This is the Angels organization, 25 guys, and our mission is to try to win. Having Mike over the last four years, is awesome. It’s fun. He’s one of the best players in the game, the way he approaches the game. It’s the way he approaches the game and the way he goes at it.
"He’s always asking questions. He’s like my shadow. Everywhere I move, he’s there asking questions. That’s what I love about him. He doesn’t take anything for granted. He wants to learn and he wants to be the best and help this ballclub to win. You don’t see that in a lot of ballplayers, especially in a 23-year-old boy who has the success the way that he has with the MVP and two runnerup (MVPs) the last three years. It’s pretty special. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to play alongside him and wear the same jersey. It’s fun.
Many will focus on the one line, "this is not the Mike Trout show" and in an age of 140 characters or less, things are taken out of context all the time. That will probably be the case here.
For so many, and not just Southern California, this is the Mike Trout show. He’s the reigning American League MVP, a fan favorite and an endorsement deal gem. He’s also considered the new face of baseball. It’s the Mike Trout Show every time the team goes on roadtrips. Fans flock to watch every Trout at-bat and try for autographs and such. He’s magnetic.
The two are friends and Pujols has tutored Trout and Trout has soaked up every once of knowledge from Pujols, who has hit 533 career home runs.
Trout and Pujols each have hit 13 home runs for the Angels this season.
Twice already on this homestand, Trout was intentionally walked to get to Pujols.
The Padres did it, and Pujols hit a walkoff single and then stared into the Padres dugout. The Rays did so in the sixth inning to load the bases, but this time Pujols flied out to shallow center.
"I don’t think about that, dude," Pujols said. "It’s part of the game. They can do that 100 more times. That doesn’t bother me. I’ve been on the other side, too. Obviously, I wish I would’ve come through right there with the bases loaded, but I got another chance in the eighth inning and I hit a two-run homer. I don’t know if that’s going to stop, but whether I’m hitting .500, you don’t want the best player on the team to beat you. That’s happened early in my career. It’s like the other night, are you going to let Miguel Cabrera hit in that situation? No. You need to let the other guy beat you. That doesn’t bother me. I’ve been in this game too long. Most of the time I’ll make them pay. Other times, I don’t get the hit that I should get."
Trout has talked endlessly about how Pujols has helped him keep his head on straight and keep his emotions in check during games.
On Monday, Trout said: "It’s their game plan. I have full confidence Albert will come through. He didn’t come through in that at-bat but he hit two home runs, so he came through in another way."
As for Trout, he’s having fun watching Pujols find his groove at the plate.
"He’s swinging it," Trout said. "The work he puts in before a game. He’s a machine. It’s impressive to watch. He’s a tough out. Even balls he’s getting out on, they’re usually base hits with a shift. He’s having a lot of fun right now. It’s fun to watch."