The Los Angeles Angels have been big spenders in free agency in recent off-seasons. They’ve shelled out top dollar for Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in consecutive seasons amongst other moves. But the spending didn’t translate to much regular season success, despite employing the league leader in WAR the past few seasons in young phenom Mike Trout. The narrative has flipped this season.
The Angels are currently five games over .500 at 25-20, good for second place in the AL West. Only the Oakland A’s and their MLB-leading 29 wins are in front of them. Still, if the season ended today the Angels would hold the top wildcard spot. Tonight they continue their quest to return to the postseason with a rubber game against the Houston Astros. They’ll have their staff ace on the mound in Jered Weaver, but he’s not the story of this one.
That distinction belongs to one of their well-paid sluggers, Albert Pujols who is the subject of the Angels bobblehead giveaway at tonight’s game. Pujols wasn’t as productive as many hoped early in his Angels career, but he’s turned things around this year. He already has 12 homeruns this season, and has easily posted the highest isolated power, and slugging percentage numbers since he’s joined the Angels.
That resurgence was clear earlier this year when Pujols bombed his 500th home run of the season in a 7-2 win against the Washington Nationals. Pujols is just the 26th player in MLB history to hit the milestone, and is the third youngest to get there at the age of 34. What’s more impressive is it was part of a two-homerun performance, with him hitting his 499th earlier in the game. No other player has hit his 499th and 500th homeruns in the same game.
Tonight, the Angels are celebrating that 500th homerun with an Albert Pujols bobblehead night. While the average ticket price of $49 is 20 percent below the average of $61 for Angels tickets this season, it’s still considerably more than you’d expect for a game against the 17-win Astros. Only the Chicago Cubs have recorded less wins so far this season. The get-in price is ust $15 to get the Pujols bobblehead and see the game.