Albert Pujols, Tony La Russa Play Down Heated Exchange
Both sides played down the incident Sunday, of course, and Cardinals GM John Mozeliak doesn't seem concerned. It's true that tempers flare from time to time and if there really were something brewing between Pujols and La Russa, it seems unlikely that it would have taken 10 years to simmer and boil over.
That said, why, exactly, would Ryan Ludwick ever be running with Albert Pujols on the plate? Friday wasn't the first time that Ludwick was caught stealing with Pujols on base; it was the third time it's happened in 2010. In fact, Ludwick's 0-for-3 on stolen base attempts this year and each time he's been caught, Pujols was up.
The first time it happened was in the bottom of the 19th inning of the Cardinals' epic 20-inning loss to the Mets on April 17. Ludwick walked to lead off the inning with the Cardinals down 1-0 and was thrown out. Pujols doubled and later scored, which only tied the game instead of winning it. Just three days later, the Cardinals and Diamondbacks were tied in the fourth inning when Pujols came up with Kyle Lohse on third, Ludwick on first and one out. Ludwick was caught stealing second, the D'backs walked Pujols instead of pitching to him, and the Cardinals went on to lose the game 9-7.
Really, it's not terribly hard to see why Pujols might be upset by Ludwick, who's stolen a base successfully just 16 times in 31 attempts in his entire career, running while he's at the plate.