The moment Albert Pujols signed his monumental contract with the Anaheim errr Los Angeles Angels, expectations for the 32-year-old were through the roof.
Due to his historic contract, Pujols essentially put himself in a lose-lose situation. If he continued to put up MVP-caliber numbers, critics would simply brush them off as expected. However, if Pujols struggled even a little, he would face unwavering scrutiny. Unfortunately for him and the Angels, it was the latter that would end up happening.
In a season where the entire baseball world was watching and waiting for the three-time MVP to stumble, Pujols couldn't have gotten off to a worse start. He went his first 110 at-bats without hitting a home run, the longest homerless streak of his 11-year-career.
But it wasn't just the power that had seemingly left the slugger's bat. Pujols was hitting a meager .217 after April and has since improved to .256—marking just the third time in his career he is hitting below .300 at this point of the year.
While Pujols' bat did get hot toward the end of May, he owes a lot to his teammates who have picked him up while he's been un-Machine-like. Guys like Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout and Kendrys Morales have solidified that Angel lineup and their recent success, more than Pujols', has been responsible for the team's resurgence.
That may be the most frustrating thing about Pujols this year—after signing the league's second-largest contract in history, he's not even the best player on his own team so far in 2012. While The Machine may end the season with numbers we are accustomed to seeing, the fact that he has struggled to live up to the expectations has frustrated Angel fans.