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Are managers crazy?

Albert Pujols now has a major league leading 26 HRs and 68 RBIs.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I have to admit, I don't have Albert Pujols on any of my four fantasy baseball rosters, so it annoys me when managers pitch to the Cardinals slugger, particularly when they don't have to.

Please explain the rationale for pitching to Pujols on Friday night with men on second and third and none out. Barry Bonds wouldn't have seen a strike as the catcher would have signaled for four wide ones. Of course, Kansas City manager Trey Hillman pitched to Albert and he promptly lined a two-run single to left field.

Then, apparently believing Pujols couldn't hit a fastball down the middle, Royals pitchers began feeding him room service pitches for the rest of the weekend which he feasted on for three home runs and eight more RBIs.

Pujols now has a major league leading 26 HRs and 68 RBIs. So I guess it's not just Hillman who has a problem pitching around the Cardinals No.3 hitter.

Are they really so scared of Ryan Ludwick, Chris Duncan and Co. that they'll not only pitch to Pujols, but throw him strikes?

They certainly shouldn't be based on the performance of Cardinals cleanup hitter this season - see below. The conglomerate of St. Louis cleanup hitters are batting just .228 with 31 runs scored, 12 HRs and 46 RBIs.

Yet these same managers have had no problem walking San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Gonzalez had 20 HRs through the end of May, but managers have used the base on balls to slow him down. The Philadelphia Phillies walked him seven times in a three-games series and the Diamondbacks followed with nine passes in a four-game set. Gonzalez has been walked 26 times in 18 games during the month of June. All those bad pitches have Gonzalez struggling at the plate, as he has hit just .238 for the past month with three home runs.

Meanwhile, it's apparently ok to allow Pujols to mash the ball any time he wants. Despite 10 HRs in June, Pujols has been walked just 11 times.

So my question to all the major league managers out there who are "killing" my fantasy teams...are you out of your mind?

2009 St. Louis Cardinals Cleanup Hitters versus Albert Pujols
PlayerABRHHRRBIAVESLGOPS
Albert Pujols235567826680.3460.7281.179
Ryan Ludwick14018368300.2570.4570.905
Chris Duncan77916390.2080.3640.693
Yadier Molina1611010.0630.0630.273
Colby Rasmus1525130.3330.6000.975
Khalil Greene501010.2000.2000.400
Rick Ankiel400000.0000.0000.000
Nick Stavinoha311020.3330.6670.917
Brian Barden200000.0000.0000.000
Brendan Ryan100000.0000.0000.000


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.