The Cardinals will be without manager Tony LaRussa in the dugout. The Reds will have Johnny Cueto on the mound. The Cardinals will not have Ryan Franklin closing out the ballgames. The Reds’ Aroldis Chapman’s command will keep him in the bullpen. Third baseman David Freese landed on the disabled list while Scott Rolen is eligible to come off the disabled list.
Needless to say, the St. Louis Cardinals will be happy to leave Cincy with the same results from the April 22-24 series when they took two of three from their NL Central rival at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals are 1.5 games ahead of the Reds heading into this weekend’s series.
The Cardinals took two of three from another NL Central rival, the Chicago Cubs. The series against the Cubs is almost a tune-up for what they can expect in Cincinnati on Friday through Sunday. The energetic atmosphere at Wrigley Field will now be the hostile environment at Great American Ballpark.
In Chicago, there was “The Hug” between Albert Pujols and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. In Cincinnati, can we expect “The Kick: Part Two” between Johnny Cueto and take your pick of any Cardinals player? Only time will tell.
As for the weekend’s pitching match-ups, Lohse looks to stay dominant in 2011 while McClellan hopes to stay unbeaten as Jonny Cueto makes his second start of the season. Chris Carpenter faces Travis Wood for the second time this season after pitching a no-hitter for five innings, but failed to get the win after the bullpen failed to close it.
The series may not have the same tension as it did last August, but it will definitely be full of entertainment and great story lines...and of course, Brandon Phillips ' mouth.