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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Pujols’ career on-base streaks mount

Albert Pujols’ recent streak of reaching base nine times in a row just fell short of his career best.

Albert Pujols (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)When Albert Pujols grounded into a double play in the fifth inning of Monday’s St. Louis Cardinals win over visiting Cincinnati, it ended his then-current run of reaching base at nine consecutive plate appearances. The streak began with the first baseman’s final at-bat on Saturday, continuing through five PA’s on Sunday and his first three on Monday.

Being the curious sort that I am, I asked Tom Orf if that was Pujols’ longest such stretch. He pulled the detailed data for me, by plate appearance by game for all Pujols streaks of six plate appearances or more.

As it turns out, on Monday Pujols fell just one plate appearance short of his personal best of ten, set in 2001 and tied again in 2003. That streak of nine is his longest in over six seasons, since August 2003.

In his nine-plus year career, Pujols has accumulated 29 streaks of reaching base in six or more consecutive plate appearances. As the table below indicates, Pujols accrued just seven of them over his first five seasons but amassed 22 in the four-plus years that followed.

Pujols by year # GT 6 PA OB
2001 1
2002 1
2003 4
2004 1
2005 0
2006 4
2007 4
2008 7
2009 3
2010 4
total 29

As I crawled through the data, I also found it extremely interesting that the only season in which Pujols did not reach base in at least six consecutive plate appearances was also the year in which he was voted his first National League Most Valuable Player Award, 2005.

Despite all the concerns about Pujols’ possible physical ailments currently, it isn’t affecting him getting on base in bunches. With four streaks of six or more plate appearances in the first two months this season, he is on pace for a dozen. That would blow away his career best in one year of seven such runs, set in his second MVP season of 2008.

Pujols # Cons PA OB Month
2001 10 May
2002 6 August
2003 6 April
9 June
10 August
8 September
2004 6 June
2005 0
2006 6 April
7 June
6 July
6 September
2007 8 May
6 May
6 September
7 September
2008 7 April
6 April
7 August
8 August
6 August
7 August
6 September
2009 8 June-July
6 July
8 August
2010 6 April
6 April
6 May
9 May

Looking at Pujols’ history of such streaks by month, a more realistic total in 2010 might be 10 or 11. He typically cools off during the summer months, but pours it on during the final two months of the season.

Pujols by month # GT 6 PA OB
April 6
May 5
June 3.5
July 2.5
August 7
September 5

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