St. Louis-San Diego: Cardinals Gruesome Twosome Pounds the Padres

Derek CoffeltSenior Analyst IMay 20, 2008

Despite a few tough losses recently, the Cardinals bounced back by beating the Padres 8-2 on Monday.

Albert Pujols lead the way with two solo home runs, along with Ryan Ludwick's team-leading 12th homer. The potency between the two sluggers is nothing short of being dubbed the majors' new "gruesome twosome".

Ludwick had always been a top prospect. Five years ago he was in the A's organization and was then traded to Texas. He showed promise with power, speed, and defensive skill.

Now, Ludwick honestly feels his potential is being reached.

"I don't know if I'm a .330 hitter," said Ludwick, who actually brought his batting average up to a sparkling .350 on Monday. "But I definitely feel like I have a better approach and a better game plan at the plate now. I feel like I have better strike zone judgment, and I feel like I've matured a little bit as a hitter. It all goes back to trying to get a good pitch to hit and hitting it hard. Right now, things are going good."

Pujols hit a monstrous shot to left field during the fifth inning that was conservatively estimated at 405 feet. He added yet another home run in the ninth that hit the third deck of the Western Metal Supply building. He's simply a beast at the plate. 

Pujols felt that now the Cardinals are finally playing their kind of baseball.

"We've been playing pretty good baseball," Pujols said. "We've got a couple losses here and there on the last road trip that were pretty tough, but I think we're bouncing back."

Todd Wellemeyer was on the mound behind all of this offense and did not disappoint. He pitched six innings, allowing two runs on six hits, while striking out two against three walks. This makes four straight starts in which Wellemeyer has only allowed two runs or fewer, and five in a row without allowing a home run.

After Pujols' great night, Ryan Ludwick had to share his thoughts on his teammate.

"He's possibly the greatest right-handed hitter of all time. So any time he gets pitches to hit, he's going to do some damage," Ludwick said. "He's done it his whole life. Tonight was a big night. Both those balls were launched. It's good. Any time he gets going and he gets pitched to, I have a feeling we're going to put more runs on the board."

Adding to his aura, Pujols is now hitting .364, with 11 home runs and has five multi-hit games in his last six contests. However, Ludwick is scorching the majors with a .400 average and an unconscious .927 slugging percentage in May.

Even manager Tony LaRussa was impressed with the performance, and stated that teams cannot overlook these two monsters.

"Everybody's paying attention to what those two guys are doing," said manager Tony La Russa.