Everyone's out to get Albert Pujols

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St. Louis Cardinals fans must be nervous. It seems like the baseball gods are trying to hurt Albert Pujols.

On Monday night, Pujols appeared to tweak his ankle while hustling into second base, getting his spikes caught in the dirt just before beginning his slide.

Turns out he was fine — even shrugging it off, saying he’d be in the
lineup Tuesday — but it was scary enough for the trainers to come out
to check him out.

If that wasn’t enough, turns out even some media members are after him. Do I smell a conspiracy?

Jack Curry of the New York Times wrote on Monday of an encounter last week with Pujols in which …

Our ankles got tangled for a moment and both of us nearly tripped.

“You all right?,” Pujols said. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

It’s not like Pujols needs more All-Star votes so we’ll assume his concern for Curry was genuine.

To his credit, Curry found the question hilarious, and responded
correctly, saying “We’d be in a lot worse shape if anything happened to
you.”

So true. Had Pujols taken out Curry with their accidental game of Twister, it’s just another reporter down and out. (Click here for a great list)

But can you imagine the furor if a reporter had put the planet’s
best hitter on the disabled list? That would be a true test of the
power of the press.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.