Albert Pujols says Cardinals need to find a way to get Colby Rasmus "out of here"

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Things are turning sour quickly in St. Louis, and not just in the National League Central standings.

Prompted with the report that 24-year-old center fielder Colby Rasmus asked for a trade earlier this season, Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols told Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports on Sunday, “We need to figure out a way to get him out of here.”

“That’ll
show you right there a young player that doesn’t respect what he’s got,” Pujols continued.
“He needs to find out the talent and ability that he has
and pretty much keep his mouth shut and play the game. Let the organization make those decisions, not himself.

It’s not surprising whatsoever that Pujols is siding with Tony La Russa, who has served as his only major league manager.  The two seem to have similar belief systems and Pujols, with his quiet and hard-working approach, isn’t the type of guy that is going to take kindly to a young player requesting a trade.

But Pujols lives in a bubble.  He has no concept of Rasmus’ value to the future of the Cardinals and probably hasn’t thought about the fact that the Redbirds need low-salary players to cover his own looming extension, which may prove to be the richest contract in the history of baseball. 

It’s upsetting that Pujols decided to go public with his thoughts, but it’s apparent that the Cardinals now must consider their superstar’s feelings when deciding how to best solve this suddenly volcanic matter.  Would firing La Russa rub Pujols the wrong way and cause him to test free agency?  Might it be time for the Cards to actually explore a deal for Rasmus? 

Whatever the case, this won’t end well.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.