OAKLAND -- Maybe some began to doubt Albert Pujols when he struggled to begin the 2012 season, perhaps thinking that he wouldn't be able to produce the way that his massive new contract said he should.
Don't count Mike Scioscia among that group.
The Angels' manager said that even as Pujols wasn't looking like himself at the start of the season -- the slugger's batting average sunk as low as .192 on May 13 -- Scioscia had confidence that the star would soon get back to his All-Star ways.
"We knew at some point he was going to go, and I think a lot was magnified early in the season," Scioscia said. "Your statistics are bare, they're out there. I don't know if there's quite a stretch he's ever gone through like that. But I think that if you look at the variables, it's something that I think if you were going to say, 'Is this explainable or is it an enigma?' It was definitely explainable, and I think that's what we've seen."
Instead of dwelling on how Pujols opened the year, Scioscia is probably just happy to see the way he's been producing lately. The first baseman is fresh off winning American League Player of the Week honors after batting .424 with five doubles and six home runs in seven games for the period ending August 5.
Along with several other hitters finding their stroke, Scioscia credited Pujols' return to form as a big reason in helping the Angels turn around their season.