2021 NLDS: Albert Pujols Focused On Dodgers, Not Personal Return To Postseason
Albert Pujols, 2021 NLDS
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have used a different starting first baseman for each of the National League Division Series games thus far, and on Monday night that amounted to Albert Pujols being in the lineup.

Pujols starting was largely expected once the San Francisco Giants committed to Alex Wood for Game 3. Pujols’ role with the Dodgers during the regular season was largely predicated on being in the lineup against a lefty starter and the first pinch-hitter used used off the bench.

The start was Pujols’ first in the postseason since playing for the L.A. Angels in Game 3 of the 2014 American League Division Series.

He went 2-for-2 with a pair of singles, good for the Dodgers’ only hits off Wood in his 4.2 innings of work. “He knows his gameplan and obviously we didn’t execute well what we wanted to do,” Pujols said after the Dodgers’ 1-0 loss.

“But, hey, he threw the ball pretty well. He got a couple gems and made some good pitches and got out of the inning. But for myself I just tried to get a good pitch to hit and that was it.”

While the future Hall of Famer has relished being part of a World Series contender, returning to the postseason is not a focus of his.

“I don’t think about it. This is never been about me, it’s about the organization that I represent,” Pujols said. “And having an opportunity to play for this organization over the last four months has been a blast. I enjoy every moment that I’m out there, I enjoy every moment that I’m in the dugout. And to have this opportunity to be in the postseason, obviously it’s something really special.

“That’s what every player that play in the big leagues hopes for, being one of those 18 to be able to be in the postseason, hopefully have a chance to win a championship. I think I’m in a good spot and I love this organization. I love everything that they offer to me over the last four months.

“And I think from the leadership from the top to the bottom and then the guys in the clubhouse, it’s just been amazing and it’s been an amazing ride. So hopefully it’s not done [Tuesday], hopefully we can keep going and push this thing for Thursday and advance to the next round.”

Pujols doesn’t blame wind at Dodger Stadium

After playing the first two games of the NLDS at a chilly Oracle Park, where a breeze is perpetual, conditions at Dodger Stadium were arguably the first in its history.

Strong gusts of wind blew Max Scherzer off balance early and later knocked down deep drives by Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux.

“Hey, it happens. That’s something that you cannot control. It’s part of the game. You can’t think it was cold. You can’t think the wind,” Pujols said. “It is what it is, you know?

“So you can’t blame it on the wind because we lost the game. It’s just part of the game, Mother Nature, and you have to respect that.”

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