Cardinals sour ending to great week, Reds series looming - KMOV.com

Cardinals sour ending to great week, Reds series looming

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St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Kyle McClellan throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Saturday, April 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) By Jae C. Hong St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Kyle McClellan throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Saturday, April 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) By Jae C. Hong

The Cardinals have seemingly come alive thanks to a trip out west.  A 6-4 road trip brings The Red Birds to .500 on the season.  They're 1 1/2 games behind the Central Division leading Cincinnati Reds.  The Cards have a 3 game series with the Nationals starting Tuesday before the big weekend showdown with the Reds.   And man, am I excited for that series.  Trash talking Brandon Phillips and high-spiking Johnny Cueto helped solidify this newly heated rivalry last year (not to mention the Reds won the division).

The Cardinals sure were a fun team to watch this past week.  They've got great momentum heading towards the battle with the Reds.  The Cardinals have scored 61 runs in their last 7 games.  They had 241 total bases, which is about 40 more than anyone else in the national league.  Lance Berkman has been huge.  He's now batting .308 with 6 Home Runs and 11 RBI.

The bats were quiet in the 2-1 loss Sunday to the Dodgers, but Chris Carpenter pitched a heck of a game with 7 scoreless innings.  Unfortunately Ryan Franklin blew another lead leaving Carpenter winless in his first 4 starts.  Tony LaRussa has continued to put Franklin out there and he's continued to have a rough year.  Franklin is 0-2 with a 11.57 ERA and just 1 for 5 in save opportunities.  It will be very interesting to see how long LaRussa stays with him.

Back to the upcoming Reds series, it's what the Cardinals fans I know are talking about.  I don't anticipate their second baseman Brandon Phillips running his mouth like he did last year, but he said enough then.  In case you need a refresher Phillips said, "Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals."  The more heated comments I don't feel comfortable publishing in this article.  And that's what led to the on the field fracas in Cincinnati.  Who can forget pitcher Johnny Cueto kicking a nearly defenseless Jason LaRue (Cardinals backup catcher) several times in the head.  Phillips is recovering from a strained groin, but is expected to play this weekend.  Johnny Cueto won't be using his spikes this weekend.  He's out with a shoulder inflammation.

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John Knicely anchors Awake with News 4, weekdays from 4:30-7:00 a.m.

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