I can understand how it might be a wonderous distraction for MLB from all the sleazy Sultan talk if Albert Pujols were to break Barry Bonds’ single season HR mark…but what’s it gonna look like if Pujols cracks 80 by September 1? The Cards’ 1B hit a 3 run HR off Houston’s Chad Qualls today, providing all the offense St. Louis required in a 3-0 defeat of the Astros, as a strong effort by Roy Oswalt (6 IP, 0 runs, 7 hits, 5 K’s) was squandered.

Short of intentionally injuring Pujols and/or mixing up his urine sample with that of Abraham Nunez, I don’t know you can defend against him. Not only is pitching around him adviseable, but if Pujols came to bat with the winning run on third and the bases loaded, I’d seriously consider walking him intentionally, just to preserve a little dignity.

Both starters have been removed due to injury in Philly tonight ; Jon Lieber leaving early with a strained groinoid, and the Nats’ Mike O’Connor taking a bullet off his shin. The Phillies have just taken a 5-2 lead, as Ryan Howard has hit his 18th HR of the year off Gary Majewski, a 3 run shot to the front row of the left field seats. Howard’s had a ridiculous May, as has teammate Chase Utley.

The Mets’ 4-1 2nd inning lead over the Snakes is in peril of being washed away ; if only the rains had come before Howie Rose expounded at length regarding a supposedly snazzy pink shirt David Wright was wearing yesterday. Rose, perhaps trying to send a message of some sort to friends and family, hoped that Wright’s bravery in wearing such a garment in public would give others the resolve to do likewise.

In what can only be described as a total coincidence, SNY segued from live action to an episode of a Rain Delay Theatre feature in which “Sopranos” star Joe Gannascoli expressed his admiration for the Mets’ rugged third baseman.