Westbrook, Pujols lead the Cards past the Mets

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I don’t write too many straight game recaps outside of And That Happened, but this one — a 6-2 win by the Cards over the Mets — struck me for a couple of reasons.

First, because it may very well have been Carlos Beltran’s last game as a Met in Citi Field. The Mets go on the road now, and won’t be back until August first, which is after the trade deadline. Beltran got a warm reception from the New York crowd, most of whom later denied spending the last several years blaming him for all of the team’s problems. That was nice of them.

Also notable was just how quick a game it was. It lasted only two hours and seven minutes. Which, given its 12:10 start time, had it ending before I really realized it had begun.  This must be what it feels like to live on the west coast.

The speed of this one had a lot to do with Jake Westbrook, who allowed only two runs on four hits over eight innings, getting 17 outs on grounders.  An Albert Pujols two-run homer in the first set the offensive tone, and the Cards never trailed.

Next up: the Cards go face the frisky Pirates. My guess: Pittsburgh starts to get exposed this weekend. For the Mets: trading deadline or bust.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.