The Cardinals have come to Cincinnati and have shown the Reds how far they truly have to go to be ready for the national spotlight. The Reds came into the series brashly behind their trash-talking, Chad Ochocinco-esque, second baseman, Brandon Phillips. Phillips went on an I-hate-the-Cardinals rant before Monday’s game to Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy that was worthy of legend. Off-color language. Hatred. No problem here. I hate the Cardinals, too. Tony LaRussa makes me nuts. But, the failure of the Cincinnati team to stay focused under such emotion has exposed the weakness of this team. And it’s a strength of the Cardinals.
The Reds looked a little lost in their 7-3 loss on Monday. Tuesday, they wanted to make a statement. It didn’t come off quite as planned. Phillips tapped the shin guard of St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina as he came to the plate in the first inning. Molina didn’t appreciate the buddy tap from a guy who called him and his teammates the b-word as early as that afternoon, and told him about it. Benches and bullpens emptied. Molina was being held back by the Reds Scott Rolen, who was seen saying, “I know… I know,” to Molina. Then Chris Carpenter, who didn’t have much nice to say about his own team Monday, appeared to say the magic word to Rolen, and the gathering went out of control toward the Diamond Club seats. It would have spilled into the premium section if not for the backstop screen. Fists were flying. When it settled down, both managers – but no players – were ejected.
Phillips tried to hit one over the scoreboard in his at-bat and failed, grounding out. Molina hit one into the left field seats in his at bat. Needless to say, Molina made several gestures while circling the bases and touching home plate. He was joined by Felipe Lopez when he reached the dugout.
Meanwhile, the Reds offense was lost again with only six hits. The defense looked uninspired and committed three errors. Down 5-2, the Reds got a big 2-out 2-run single to left from Drew Stubbs, but new Red Jim Edmonds was caught rounding the bases too far and was nailed getting back to second. That’s as close as the Reds would get the rest of the night. The standings are tied with a 12:35 start on Wednesday.
Afterward, Molina said, “He talked bad about me and my team. Don’t say ‘hi’ to me. That’s stupid.”
Phillips said, “Regardless of what happened, man, we lost. That’s the only thing that really sucked today.”
Baker said, “We didn’t play good baseball. We played uncharacteristically poor defense tonight. We’ve just got to come back and win tomorrow.”
LaRussa told the media after the game that the umpires made the correct decision to toss the managers. “We’re probably the two guys who are the most immaterial to the outcome of the game. I think it was probably a smart move.”
LaRussa also said the condition of backup catcher Jason LaRue will need further evaluation. “He got clobbered in the head with their starting pitcher kicking, so now he has a slight concussion. We’ll see how that’s all handled.”
Carpenter was more emotional. He said, “Totally unprofessional. Unbelieveable. I haven’t seen anything like that. (LaRue) got kicked square in the side of the face. I mean, with spikes? Come on! Give me a break. I turned around and I got Cueto kicking me in the back with his spikes. Like I said, It’s super unprofessional.”
Wednesday’s game will be played under a heat warning in Cincinnati. Temperatures are expected to hit 100 during the game with moderate humidity and bright sunshine. That ballpark is quite honestly the hottest ballpark for day games I’ve ever been in. I got sunburned there during the first week of April, 2003. I never got a sunburn at Riverfront. It will be very interesting to see how the game goes. It would be nice if the Reds could reward their fans with a win.
About the Author
Written by Dave Allen
I'm a lifelong Cincinnati sports fan who has been following the Reds and Bengals ever since I can remember. My first Reds game was Game 6 of the '72 World Series and my first Bengals game was an October 1975 clash with the Steelers. I've been involved in sports media since Junior High, when I assisted with scores for Bob Trumpy SportsTalk in 1979 on WLW Radio. My biggest Reds highlight came in 1998 when I was chosen to be the public address announcer at Riverfront Stadium (then called Cinergy Field) for Opening Day and the entire first homestand. I am thrilled to be involved with PSB and I hope you enjoy my entries!