A good, clean series?
Happy 4th of July from St. Louis…
Of course it will be impossible to predict the outcome of the three games between the Reds and Cardinals this week. But the only thing that’s almost become a sure thing is that there will be some sort of a sideshow controversy.
It’s already happened twice this year.
Back in April here, the Reds were wondering if the Cardinals pulled some trickery with their use of weather radar and beginning a game when they knew a terrible storm was coming. The Reds say they were told it would be at least an hour. The Cardinals “started” Miguel Batista for only six pitches before the two-hour delay and turned the ball over to actual starter Kyle McClellan after the rain stopped. The Reds had Edinson Volquez all warmed up to start but couldn’t use him after he got cold during the day. The bullpen had to work all nine innings in a 4-2 loss.
Then in May at GABP, there was some griping from the Cardinals dugout when Francisco Cordero plunked Albert Pujols during a critical ninth inning situation (it was an 0-2 pitch that made Pujols the tying run at first base). Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan and backup catcher Gerald Laird had words for Cordero, who was shouting back on his way off the field.
And today of course is a premier matchup between Johnny Cueto and Chris Carpenter. Cueto isn’t a favorite of St. Louis because it was his kick to the head of Jason LaRue that gave the catcher a career-ending concussion during the
August, 2010 donnybrook. Cardinals fans booed lustily every time Brandon Phillips batted here in April. Could they keep it up an entire game when Cueto is pitching? And Reds fans have grown tired of Carpenter’s frequent complaining about tough-to-grip balls, fireworks smoke and mound conditions. Carpenter was also a major part of the benches-clearing incident last August.
UPDATE — Reds manager Dusty Baker was asked if he was concerned about any controversy today with Cueto facing Carpenter.
“I hope not,” Baker said. “How long can you hold stuff? You just got to play ball, that’s all. We hope Cueto is pitching the way he’s been pitching.”
Reds lineup vs. Cardinals
*The Reds have not won a three-game series at Busch Stadium since taking a sweep from June 5-7, 2006. In 12 series here since, Cincinnati is 0-11-1.
*Scott Rolen’s next hit will give him 2,000 for his career. He needs two more doubles for 500 over his career.
*A reminder: Tuesday’s game will start at 7:09 p.m. ET, a switch to accomodate an ESPN broadcast. It was originally slated to start at 8:15 p.m. ET.