Pujols has been hampered by a sore foot and will miss a second straight start, affording Mike Trout another day as the DH. Manager Mike Scioscia said Tuesday that he wasn't sure if Pujols will play again in 2016, as the injury has "gotten to a point now where we don't want to put him at risk." The Angels are off Thursday.
The Angels will opt to put Rafael Ortega in center field and move Mike Trout to DH while Pujols gets the day off. Pujols has increased his production at the plate as of late, as he's hit .327/.373/.491 with two home runs and nine RBI over the last 14 games.
Morneau was hitting a brutal .224/.296/.306 without a home run in 14 games in September before Monday's slump-busting performance. He owns just a .258/.296/.437 line on the year. Morneau has already said he is undecided on his playing status for 2017, and his performance this year hasn't suggested he has much left in the tank.
That's now three straight multi-hit performances for Morales, pushing his slash line for September up to .352/.408/.659 in 88 at-bats with eight home runs, 15 runs scored and an incredible 29 RBI.
VMart has woken up in the last few days -- he's 7-for-14 (.500) with three home runs, nine RBI and five walks. The home run was Martinez's 27th of the season.
Cruz hit a pair of solo home runs in his first three at-bats of the game to boost his total to 41 for the season, but he appeared to hurt his hand on the second of the two blasts. Seth Smith entered the game to pinch hit for Cruz, who will be listed as day-to-day heading into the Mariners' series with the Astros that begins Monday.
The veteran slugger hit the 30-homer mark for only the second time in his career and first time since 2009 with his eighth round-tripper of September. Morales also has a whopping 27 RBI during the month, propelling him to a second straight season with at least 90 runs driven in. Following Saturday's production, the 33-year-old is hitting .337 (28-for-83) in September, a tally that includes seven multi-hit efforts.
The veteran launched one into the third deck -- estimated at 454 feet -- for his 39th homer, moving him up to sixth in MLB this season. Now that he spends most of his time as a designated hitter, perhaps the 36-year-old can continue put up elite production for a few more years to come as 40-year-old David Ortiz has.
The veteran slugger broke the ice on a dismal offensive performance up to that point by taking reliever Enrique Burgos deep with a 407-foot shot to right in the eighth, kick-starting the Orioles' comeback. Despite the homer Friday and some modest success making hard contact during the month, Alvarez is struggling overall in September, as evidenced by his .195 average over 41 at-bats.
Cruz hit a two-run shot for his 38th homer this season. He has nine games left to get to 40 homers for the third consecutive year. He's also four RBI away from his second 100-RBI season.