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