Teams are walking Albert Pujols at every opportunity, and it's causing Albert to change his approach at the plate for the worse:
After leading in the count 3-0 against Guillermo Mota, Pujols took a strike, then swung at two low pitches to strike out for only the seventh time this season. "I felt I didn't want to walk, and I took myself out of the strike zone to swing at that pitch," Pujols said. "The 3-0 pitch was a little low. But I tried to push too much. I should've taken my walk. It's something you learn. You press. It's the way the game goes."
The game increasingly steps around Pujols. He has never walked 100 times in a season but now finds himself on pace for 154.
Through Monday, Pujols' six intentional walks led the major leagues. Only Cincinnati Reds left fielder Adam Dunn had more walks overall (22).
The number was partly responsible for Pujols, as of Monday, being the game's on-base king with a .500 on-base percentage, but it also fed his frustration about too few pitches to hit with runners on base.
More than half his walks (11) have come in 26 plate appearances with runners in scoring position.
Albert needs to take the Bonds approach. The walks are good, the walks help his team. There will be times when the opposition can't walk him, and then he needs to wait for his pitch. That's what made him such a great hitter this decade. There's no reason to change just because teams are pitching around him. The more he gets on base, the more the Cardinals score.