This may just be me, but after a completely pleasant week at Wrigley Field I'm hoping for one of those nice, down-to-earth Cardinals-Reds series in which nobody is jump-kicked or even regular-kicked. Heated rivalries are nice, but May is too soon for things to boil over—it would get anticlimactic if backup catchers were incapacitated at every stop, like watching a band play the same set-list twice in a row, and as much as I'd like to see Bryan Anderson get regular playing time there has to be a better way. So I'm glad Johnny Cueto and Chris Carpenter are each starting in this series—it only seems right—and I'm glad they're not starting the same game.
There's even worse news, if you were looking for what would have been, in our pro wrestling thread, more evocatively described as an Old-Fashioned Slobberknocker—Brandon Phillips has been a model citizen! Things could change after press time, but here's what St. Louis's favorite Tweeter did yesterday:
- Finished off a game of #BPTrivia in which he confessed that the Reds' favorite pre-flight snack is Chick-fil-A—which was, to me, a deeply conflicting revelation.
- Got his eat on @pfchangs, which might piss off Chinese food purists and people who aren't sure whether you're supposed to say "at" like that on Twitter but is otherwise pretty reasonable.
- Attended a youth baseball game he was tweeted about just because, which, come on.
I'll say this much: If he wants to continue serving as the official troll of the St. Louis Cardinals he'll have to do better than eating at chain restaurants and performing random, heartwarming acts of social-media kindness!
I've been pretty happy about Kyle McClellan's results so far, but it's getting increasingly easy to argue with the peripherals; in general this rotation would make more sense to me if, having changed nothing else, we just flipped Carpenter and McClellan's records and ERAs. A 112 ERA+ with a lucky run of wins? That sounds a lot like the kind of year Chris Carpenter would have at 36, his K:BB rate good but not great, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman producing a ton of runs. 1-2 with an ERA+ of 86? I would have been neither surprised nor disappointed to learn that that's what Kyle McClellan could do with his first month of starts.
But switched like they are now I find myself less confident in Carpenter than I should be after 37 strikeouts and 13 unintentional walks and more confident in McClellan than I have any right to be. Carpenter's allowed 10 hits or more in each of the last three games, something he's never done before and something which neither Brett Tomko nor Kip Wells quite managed in their distinguished tenures with the Cardinals. McClellan's basically been Braden Looper.
If they'd just trade I could do my pretend-job instead of having to fight through their traditional stats. But baseball players are selfish. I'm not sure who Kyle Lohse, who starts today, could trade with, and I'm a little reluctant to look a gift-mirage in the mouth. As long as he continues to look like an extremely capable control pitcher with great off-speed stuff I'm going to continue to allow my eyes to pretend that makes sense.