Is there a problem in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout? That is the question still being asked after a verbal altercation of sorts last Friday between Cardinal manager Tony La Russa and slugger Albert Pujols.
Several media outlets reported that in the eighth inning of last Friday night’s game, Pujols was at the plate when Ryan Ludwick was thrown out stealing to end the inning. This is when the trouble started.
Pujols threw his bat to the ground, which then carried over to the dugout where he would again slam his bat and helmet. He also moved some gum packages with some force. This prompted a brief word exchange between Pujols and La Russa.
Reports are that the exchange was brief, but that it did include some profanity from La Russa when he was responding to Pujols about his management of the team. There were no blows exchanged, and the game continued with the Cardinals beating the Angels.
On Saturday, the team downplayed the entire incident. Both Pujols and La Russa said it had been blown out of proportion, and that they were past it and were looking at getting back to the business of playing baseball.
Perhaps, some of what happened is the month Pujols is having. So far he has just one home run and 10 RBIs. He is hitting .267.
The team also has had its ups and downs as its lead over Cincinnati, which was one time as large as five games, is gone. Going into tonight’s action, they are tied at the top of the National League Central.
The Cardinals are in California where they will start a series tonight against the National League West leading San Diego Padres.