Since the Dirkness has been ruled completely incapable of writing on the happenings of baseball, he went on a worldwide search only to find his main man, his number 1 fan-ness, coming to us all the way from the streets of Compton, via St. Louis, via Kingman, Kansas, I present to you the passionate writings of one Brock Goetz....
THE DOGFIGHT IN THE NL CENTRAL
With 1.5 months of glorious, heat-swamped, tug-boating Major League Baseball left, I requested a stately article from His Dirkness on this fantastic sport, but he seems to be shrouded in a permanent veil of pre-season NFL (the Cheeves). So for that angry mob of readers that are salivating for some WHIP, OPS, and BIPS stats, well I’m not going to get that far into it but at least this may cure part of that hunger.
“They’re all little bitches. Let me repeat: I hate the Cardinals.” These faux-gangsta phrases uttered by Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips before the definitive Cardinals-Reds series for 1st place in the NL Central must have been conceived to fire up his own team. Unfortunately for him, his team comprised of ex-Cards, and the city of Cincinnati, it led to a magnificent sweep at the hands of St. Louis with a combined 21-8 score over three games, in addition to a brawl that showed the Reds were the true punks (cleat kicking). The Reds came into the series with a two-game lead in the NL Central, homefield advantage, and a thirst for the postseason that they have not seen in over a decade. The Cardinals came in with an erratic, inconsistent offense, poor relief pitching, and possibly only the hopes of salvaging the third game of the series under Ace Adam Wainwright. But those words made public by Phillips sparked a canine-fury from the Cards that completely dissected and destroyed all of the “wholesome” chemistry the Reds have thrived on offensively with their starting rotation.
In Game 1, Cards Co-Ace Chris Carpenter (13-3, 2.89 ERA) brought a wild-bore mentality, even goring his own teammate Brendan Ryan twice for mistakes and miscommunications, going 7 innings strong and only allowing two late earned runs. Opposing him was rookie sensation Mike Leake (7-3), who has never played in the minors… yeah one of those guys. They both took a scoreless pitching-duel into the fourth until the Cards opened it up with a 12 pitch, 6 hit, 6 run streak in the inning. Spurred by five straight hits by the likes of Jon Jay, Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, and Molina, the unlikely hero Skip Schumaker (the quintessential utility-player name) stepped up and nailed a Grand Slam (a theme that would reoccur triumphantly in Game 3). This left Leake totally bewildered, leading him to attempt to trot off the field after only two outs, which got him yanked before he could even finish the inning. The Cards went on to win 7-3.
Game 2 aka “The Brawlgame” solidified the intensity of this rivalry since the news of Phillips derogatory comments had reached every ear in the clubhouses, general management offices, and the streets of St. Louis and Cincinnati. Immediately to start the bottom of the first, lead-off hitter and trash-talker Phillips tapped the shin guards of catcher Yadier Molina as a “good game dawg” sort of purpose. After Yadi kicked the bat away, Phillips proceeded to do it again before turning his back and acting cocky. When he came back into the box, the helmets came off and some jiving was enacted, leading to a bench clearing commencement. Everything may have went off without a hitch until opposing veteran managers Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker mouthed off to each other, proceeding the aforementioned wild-bore Chris Carpenter to get gritty with softy ex-Cardinal Scott Rolen trying to hold him back. The crowd surged towards the backdrop where Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto found himself sitting on the wall, kicking with his metal cleats, at the back of Carpenter, lacerating his back, and giving bench catcher Jason LaRue a concussion. Well in addition to looking like Easy E, Cueto proved that, in fact, he’s the one that fights like a bitch because he quote-unquote “feared for his life.” Things cooled off after that and Phillips quietly grounded out on the ensuing at-bat. You may be asking, “What did Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina do when he got up to the plate in the subsequent inning?” Well young one, he hit a blasting HOME RUN. Molina (2 hits, 2 RBI) and Matt “Every Day Should Be A” Holliday (4 hits, 4 RBI) powered the offense to a 8-4 victory behind the outing of rookie Jaime Garcia (10-5, 2.71 ERA) and gave Cueto (11-3) the loss.
In Game 3, Cardinal Ace and a co-leader of the Cy Young candidacy, Adam Wainwright (17-6, 1.99 ERA), once again put on a stellar performance, taking a 2-hit Shutout through the 7th until a rain delay took him out of the game. Once again, opposer Bronson Arroyo (12-7) took a scoreless pitching duel into the 5th until birthday-kid Colby Rasmus patiently executed an 8 pitch, full count, 2 out bases loaded at bat and nailed a subsequent dagger-like Grand Slam into center. Combined with the additional heroics of Jon Jay (the rookie that always starts the rally), Molina, and Schumaker, the Cards rolled to a 6-1 victory, which acted as the broom to sweep the Reds under the bench with all the sunflower seed shells and big-league chew.
In conclusion, ghetto-fighter Brandon Phillips finished the series going 2-14 and rarely hit it out of the infield… good one kid. The St. Louis starters allowed only 9 hits and 6 ER in 19 1/3 innings, while the Reds starters got punctured for 22 hits and 14 ER in only 14 innings. Oh the satisfaction involved there with both teams putting up their Top 3. Albert Pujols was quiet with 3 hits, 4 walks, and 2 RBI but many other heroes emerged to put the Cards up one game on the Reds in the NL Central. The dogfight will continue with one more series between these teams later on in St. Louis, hopefully finally getting credit for being the best rivalry during this 2010 season.
Brock Goetz - “Rickaay The Lead Off Man”