With only two weeks since his “The Yankees Must Sign Carlos Beltran” piece, Joel Sherman was back at it again over the weekend — this time with a severe hitjob on Albert Pujols. The tone of the article is so hostile, you wonder if Sherman has Saltalammchia-like contempt for the future Hall of Famer (although he mentions Pujols’ biceps twice…very weird, Joel):

St. Louis star proving he doesn’t have big-city game

Albert Pujols should kiss the ground today that Mark Teixeira is with the Yankees, Adrian Gonzalez plays for the Red Sox, Ryan Howard wears a Phillies uniform and Fred Wilpon was once pals with Bernie Madoff.

Pujols should be careful about chasing the last dime this offseason because it can lead him to a city with more than one newspaper and a group of fans with which he has no collateral. He should figure out how to stay in St. Louis, where he forever will have a city that loves him and an organization that will cover for him, and where his small-time behavior and big biceps are an acceptable combination.

His disappearing act after Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night and his prickly response to being called out on it yesterday merely confirmed what long has been said about Pujols: He has grown over time to believe he is beyond criticism. New York, Boston and Philadelphia would not kowtow to this behavioral model quite like the loyal, pleasant folks who make up the large and supportive Cardinals Nation.

Just for the record, besides exposing he has thick biceps but the kind of thin skin that would not play well in the Northeast, Pujols did tell us he hurried on that relay thinking he could maybe nab Kinsler too far off third. He said the throw was fine and he messed up.

At least he took responsibility for something — albeit 18 hours too late.

Sherman’s thesis is two-fold:

1. Albert Pujols is lucky he’s not going to end up in New York, Boston, or Philly.
2. Albert Pujols has big and thick biceps.

According to Sherman, Pujols can’t handle the spotlight. He’s okay in small-time St Louis where he’s insulated from criticism, but when he takes the big stage — as he’s forced to now by playing in the World Series — he psychologically crumbles. Sherman’s evidence for this is that Pujols didn’t speak to reporters after Game 2, in which he made a crucial misplay.

That’s right — the fact that Pujols didn’t want to speak to Joel Sherman and his colleagues in one single instance PROVES that the Cardinals’ slugger cracks under the pressure of MSM scrutiny. Of course, Pujols talked to the media for a half hour the following afternoon, and accepted responsibility for the misplay. However, according to Sherman, that was just “18 hours too late.”

So, what does the psychologically-fragile Pujols do after facing barbed and disproportionate criticism across the nation for his minor indiscretion?

He hits three home runs in Game 3 with those juicy biceps.