I know there is still one game remaining for the St. Louis Cardinals in Tampa but as I looked at the pitching match-ups for the upcoming Cincinnati Reds series, I could not get past Monday’s Independence Day opener.
As fans all over baseball know, there is history from 2010.
The Cardinals had slipped to two games behind the Reds heading into a crucial three-game series in the Queen City that began on August 9. St. Louis swept Cincinnati, reaching the 15 games over .500 mark while re-taking the division lead for what would be the last time.
The huge series win was not without tragedy. On August 10, a melee erupted that had its origin in words from Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips the night before. The physical incident was touched off when Phillips tapped the shin guards and spoke to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina to begin the bottom of the first inning.
In the scuffle that followed, Cardinals reserve catcher Jason LaRue suffered what became a career-ending concussion when kicked in the head by the Cincinnati pitcher Cueto. Carpenter also suffered cuts and scratches while Cueto ended up receiving the most minor rap on the knuckles, a seven-game suspension.
“I turned around and I’ve got Cueto kicking me in the back with his spikes,” Carpenter said at the time. “He ends up kicking my backup catcher in the face. Totally unprofessional. Unbelievable. I don’t know where that guy learned to fight.”
Is there any doubt that Carpenter, coming off three long games in terms of pitches thrown, will be at his competitive best come Monday? Does Cueto dare dig in when he steps up to the plate?
This will be Cueto’s first mound appearance in St. Louis since the fight. He defeated the Cardinals and Kyle McClellan in Cincinnati on May 14.
Here are the other two series games, also expected to be interesting.