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Astros-Cardinals: Albert Pujols Goes Deep. Twice.

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Brandon Backe wasn’t happy with Albert Pujols yesterday, and Backe let him know during batting practice, when the two had to be separated by Cecil Cooper. Why? A little disagreement about Pujols’s slide into J.R. Towles the night before.

Pujols’s response to Backe was simple: He went deep on the Astros twice, treating two different Astros pitchers (Dave Borkowski and Oscar Villarreal) as if they were merely clones of Brad Lidge. The first home run, coming in the seventh inning, put the Cardinals up 5-3. The second homer, in the top of the ninth, put the Cardinals up 6-4. And making up two runs, folks, is just asking too much of the vaunted Astros offense.

The Astros are now 3-7 on the young season, and they have lost four of their last five games. And if anybody out there is reading this, please relay this message to the baseball gods: Wanted. One bat to hit in the clutch. Will pay many millions of dollars.


Chris Sampson, last night’s starting pitcher, battled the flu and the Cards and barely made it through four innings. Yet he was able to hold the St. Louis to only three runs. But the Cards had an excuse for their failure to rock Sampson; Pujols aside, the team is not that good. The Astros, who once again battled a motley crew of Cardinal pitchers, led by Braden Looper, the failed closer turned starter, could only muster six hits off of a pitching staff just dying to be beat up.

Thankfully, today is an off day for the Astros. Hopefully, the hitters can locate their missing bats. And the pitchers should be hitting the Harris County courthouse in order to file that suit for lack of support.

And Cecil Cooper, you ought to nail Brandon Backe to a bench or tie him up in the clubhouse. Do anything to keep him from antagonizing the opposition.


Okay, Brandon Backe needs to grow up. I was at the game Tuesday night, and there was nothing cheap or dirty about Albert Pujols’ slide into J.R. Towles. And I guarantee that if Hunter Pence had slid into Jason LaRue like that, then Backe would have been the first Astro out of the dugout to congratulate Pence.

I thought Miguel Tejada was around to prevent these kind of juvenile actions. Because, as Jose de Jesus Ortiz has told me, Tejada knows how to play the game the right way, and the right way includes taking out the catcher at the plate if you’re trying to score a run.

******************** Speaking of Miguel Tejada, did any of hear about the suspension of Atlanta Braves prospect Jordan Schafer? Yep, he’s been suspended for 50 games for using HGH. Things are still a little iffy on how this was discovered as there’s still not a test to detect HGH in the body.

But it’s not Schafer’s fault, not if you listen to the owner of the Chicago White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf. Reinsdorf puts all of the blame for everything steroid on one man, Donald Fehr, the head of the baseball players union. Yeah, and the owners were screaming about how steroids were ruining the game when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa staged their little home run hitting contest in 1998.

And what’s Miguel Tejada got to do with this? Nothing more than giving me a chance to remind Tejada he needs a B-12 injection because he’s kind of sucking.

********************* Tejada’s former team, the Baltimore Orioles, continue to be the surprise of the American League. And they’re being led by two former Astros, Aubrey Huff and Luke Scott. Huff went off on the Texas Rangers the other night, going four-for-four with four RBI and a run scored. And since they were in the Metroplex, I can’t help but wonder what Aubrey thinks of the strippers up that way? Scott’s one of those religious types, so I doubt he’s visiting the strip clubs with Huff, but that’s not preventing Scott from being one of the AL’s leading batters.

******************** Oh, here’s something interesting, Oakland A’s pitcher Rich Harden, the American League version of Mark Prior, was scratched from a start, again, because of injury, again. This time, he’s got a shoulder strain.

******************** As if things weren’t bad enough around Detroit, second baseman Placido Polanco’s consecutive game errorless streak ended after 186 innings when he committed an error against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.

Breaking news: Detroit won last night; that makes them 1-7 on the season. And just think, some idiots out there picked them to win it all.

But no matter how bad things are going in Detroit, at least they’re not the San Francisco Giants, who are locked into a long-term contract with starting pitcher Barry Zito. And this is looking like a bad thing because Zito is really sucking up the joint. Think Jose Lima bad. He’s so bad at the moment that in San Francisco, where they wouldn’t even boo Barry Bonds, the fans are deluging Zito with boos.

And to any of you wondering about Morgan Ensberg, it seems he injured an ankle on Monday night. Only the Yankees forgot to inform Ensberg of the injury.

The Tigers, Giants and Yankees are almost making Astros management look competent. Almost.

********************* Today’s uh-oh moment is courtesy of the good folks at my20. Apparently, it’s been a while since they did baseball. They had the open with Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies, and at the conclusion, Brown threw to commercial. Only my20 didn’t go to commercial. They stayed frozen on a shot of the field, then a shot of people coming up the escalator, and while the picture was frozen, Bill Brown’s mike was live, and we got to hear him talking about the infamous Chris Berman tapes. Luckily for all involved, the good folks at my20 figured out that something wasn’t right and went to a truck commercial.

********************* And in place of the Asshole of the Day, I’m going with a new category, our Man of the Day.

Let me introduce you to Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Doug Davis. Davis played a key role in the D-Backs run to the playoffs last season, and he was expected to play a key role this season. But during spring training, Davis discovered that he had thyroid cancer. Today, Davis is having surgery to remove the cancer, but Tuesday, Davis took his turn in the rotation for the D-Backs and pitched six innings with seven strikeouts while surrendering only two runs to the Dodgers.

I go into a panic at the mention of an x-ray. I don’t know how he was able to concentrate because I sure wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything remotely work related.

Get well, Doug. – John Royal

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