The Rivalry Renewed: Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Yadier Molina was in the middle of what would turn into baseball's biggest brawl in 2010 (Image: Yahoo)

Last season the Reds opened the season with St. Louis coming to Cincinnati. St. Louis began 2-0 before Jonny Gomes launched a 381 foot home run to left field to give the Reds their first win of 2011.

No one could have imagined after that first season the race to the playoffs the Cardinals and Reds had in 2011.

The rivalry heated up in 2011, and it all came to a head on Tuesday, August 10. After taking a loss to the Cardinals the night before, Brandon Phillips had some choice words for Tony LaRussa’s Cardinals.

“I’d play against these guys with one leg,” Phillips told Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News. “I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them, they’re little bitches, all of ‘em.”

The next day as Phillips led off the ball game, he tapped Yadier Molina on the shin guard and the rest is history (linked is a video of the brawl). The Reds would get swept by the Cardinals and fall from two games up in the division to one game down. ESPN’s John Kruk announced that he thought the Reds season was over. It wasn’t.

The Reds would blow away the Cardinals down the stretch as Tony LaRussa stood shell-shocked in his dugout watching the Cardinals lose game after game. The Reds, on the other hand, won 7 in a row after the sweep and won 13 of 16.

In 2011, the rivalry should not be much different. Brandon Phillips still doesn’t like the Cardinals and Chris Carpenter doesn’t like anyone. So let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses for the Cardinals in 2011:

Strengths: A first baseman named Albert Pujols will bat in the middle of their lineup (hopefully this will be his last season in St. Louis). And Adam Wainwright will anchor the pitching staff. The Cardinals have added Lance Berkman to the outfield that already included Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus. And Ryan Theriot should provide more stability at shortstop than Brendan Ryan did in 2010. With Wainwright, Carpenter, and Jaime Garcia at the top of their pitching rotation, they are as good as anyone when those three guys toe the hill. They also have the game’s best pitching coach.

Weaknesses: Lance Berkman may be a good hitter but his fielding abilities in the outfield could be a major weakness. They will also need more consistency from David Freese and Skip Schumaker to keep any sort of consistent offense going. Ryan Franklin and Trevor Miller are a year older, and though the Cardinal bullpen ranked 11th in the majors in ERA last season, I am not sure the back end is all that dominant. Also are Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook good enough at the backend of the rotation?

How they match up vs. the Reds: The Reds often had problems beating Wainwright or Carpenter in 2010, but they beat just about everyone else they played. Offensively, the Reds outproduced the Cardinals in 2010 and I would expect more of the same in 2011. Pujols and Holliday are great but the rest of the lineup failed to find much consistency. The Reds pitching staff is deeper (though not as dominant at the top), and any Reds starter could step up to be the ace to face off against Wainwright or Chris “the jerk” Carpenter in 2011. The two teams will face off 15 times in 2011 including three games in April and three games at the beginning of September. The first trip that the Reds will take to September in mid-April is a trip to mark on both teams calendars. That series will set the tone for the games for the rest of the season. Should one team sweep the other that would give them tremendous momentum going forward.

Prediction: The Cardinals have the stars but the Reds have a deep cohesive team who now knows what it takes to get to October and compete there. The Cardinals will be a winning ball club but I see 2011 as a year that they slip back a little. I would project a third place finish behind the Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. I didnt like what I saw with some of their team chemistry in 2010 (LaRussa has young guys walking on egg shells and Carpenter is berating teammates in the dugout). As a result, I see the Reds coming out on top in 2011. Dusty Baker and company have the depth, cohesiveness, drive, and hunger that the Cardinals do not in 2011.

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Tags: 2011 Prediction Adam Wainwright Albert Pujols Brandon Phillips Chris Carpenter Colby Rasmus David Freese Drew Stubbs Dusty Baker ESPN Jaime Garcia Jake Westbrook Jay Bruce Joey Votto Jonny Gomes Kyle Lohse Lance Berkman Matt Holliday Milwaukee Brewers NL Central Reds And Cardinals Brawl Rivalry Ryan Theriot Skip Schumaker St Louis Cardinals Tony LaRussa Yadier Molina

  • BrandonCincy

    I hate the Cardinals too and love that Brandon Phillips said that. I honestly do think that they whine, and LaRussa may have lost his touch with that team last year. Everyone seemed maybe just a little too intense. And man do I hope Pujols leaves the Cardinals (and also doesn’t go to the Cubs)!

  • RWald

    Ill take Wood, Cueto, Volquez, Arroyo, Leake, Chapman, Bailey, Maloney, and LeCure over Wainwright, Carpenter, and Garcia any day. 8 guys vs. 3

  • shrews824

    I’ll tell ya. Each year I always try to make a game against St. Louis. I really dislike them (and the Cubs for that matter.) A lot of Cardinal fans around my neck of the woods, so I have to hear their gloating for the entire season. However, this past year made a few of them bite their tongue. I think this rivalry is totally under appreciated in other parts of the country. It’s always intense and competitive regardless of how each team is playing when they meet.

  • Pat

    God bless Brandon Phillips; i sure hope they resign him this offeason! I think he would be a big loss to the team if he was allowed to go elsewhere. THe good news is though I think he wants to stay in Cincinnati

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  • Ray DeRousse

    I’m not intending to sound like a homer, but Yadi didn’t start that brawl. Phillips said some fairly offensive things about the team, and then approached Yadi like they were friends. He simply stood up and told him not to act like that.

    I would like to think that the guys on this site would stand up for their friends if someone talked smack about them. I was proud that Yadi did that. I was less happy with Carpenter, who spent the entire year acting like a grandstanding hothead. You see, I’m able to look at the situation (somewhat) impartially … I think it would be great if you guys did the same.

    Great site by the way!

    • Steve Engbloom


      I don’t see anywhere in this post where Alex stated or even inferred that Molina started the brawl. How the brawl went down is well know even outside of most baseball circles. Everyone knows it was what BP said in the media that lit the fuse.

      Why would you call out my staff like this? It would be great if we were impartial? You mean like your site? There are plenty of posts over there that any Reds fans (or Cubs fans or any other baseball fan) could construe as having a Cards slant.

      To put it bluntly, the staff on board here is the best damn staff any lead could ever have.

      • Ray DeRousse

        Steve, someone went in and changed the caption under the picture of Yadi above. Of course, like the Reds themselves, you’re obviously unwilling to admit that. Classy.

    • Alex Apple

      “With Wainwright, Carpenter, and Jaime Garcia at the top of their pitching rotation, they are as good as anyone when those three guys toe the hill. They also have the game’s best pitching coach.”

      Ray-that seems pretty objective to me. I just thought I should copy a part of the article that you must have missed when you read it the first time. Im not sure how much Cardinal ass you wanted me to kiss but I thought that this article was very objective, and I gave my honest opinion. There were plenty of things that I could have said that would have been slanted toward the Reds but I did not in order to ensure the best quality of writing that I could give.
      I think the product on this site gets better everyday, and I am proud of the growth that has gone on over the last 5 months alone.


    • jay-dog

      Ray, I don’t want to get caught up in the bickering or sifting through everybody else’s comments, but I do want to sincerely thank you for “(somewhat)impartiality”, and make my own attempt at the same. I think we can all agree about what was tragic in the brawl. I think we can all agree that Brandon Phillips was foolish. I think we can all agree that Chris Carpenter is a jerk. … eh, can we also agree that it was an outrage when your team stopped play to force Mike Leake to remove his bracelet?


    DeRousse, I agree with you on some things. Being a Cardinals fan, it killed me to se some of the things that went on last year. One Yadi did start the fight because he was the one that stood up and got in Phillips face. I was surprised that a war of words started the brawl. Two I like the nickname of Chris “The Jerk” Carpenter because he i believe is more trouble than he is worth.
    Scott Rolen used to have the rep of being a jerk but in reality, he was just an intense quiet guy who went about his business. Chris “The Jerk” sees himself as above his teammates which is detrimental to the club.

  • shawn griggs

    Brandon Phillips is an idiot for saying what he said. Its one thing to say that and back it up… phillips did nothing that entire series. I am glad he said that though it will make for a very fun rivalry this year. I still think the reds are shorthanded when it comes to quality pitching which is why the cardinals will win the central with no problem . Phillips could have also come up with something better than the red birds are bitches … really!? Albert carp waino holliday yadi these guys are freakin studs gold gloves mvps batting titles yea keep talkin brandon haha

    • Alex Apple

      The Reds lack quality pitching, compared to the Cardinals they have a surplus.
      Cardinals: Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia
      Reds: Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, Travis Wood
      I would take the Reds pitching staff EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK

  • STL1

    What is up with this Ray DeRousse guy? Im a Cardinals fan but……

  • shawn griggs

    Quality not quantity we have a stud top 3 Westbrook and Lohse If they struggle Shelby Miller the number 20 prospect in baseball. Wainwright went 20-11 era of 2.42 Carpenter 16-9 3.22 Garcia 13Z8 2.70….. arroyo 17-10 3.88 cueto the guy who kicks people in the face with spikes on 12-7 3.64 leake 8-4 4.23 volquez 4-3 4.31 bailey 4-3 4.46 wood 5-4 3.51 those numbers aren’t to solid. Plus last time I checked its a 5 man rotation I know its gonna b tough to chose from that “surplus” of aces haha are you kidding me!? The reds had a lucky season last year and it was due to the fact that the cards slumped and handed them the division that the reds did nothing with in the post season because they’ve got nothing! The cardinals are a team of guys who are proven all stars with pujols holliday berkman yadi wainwright and carpenter. Mvp’s cy youngs gold gloves batting titles… oh yeah and 10 world series championships. I don’t understand the reds fans mentallity you win the division have an ok season for the first time in god knows how long and think your goin somewhere? Do it for a couple of years with some regularity and do somethin in the playoffs except get embarassed before you try and defend a team that has two count em 2 central division titles and 5 world series. Come on man

  • shawn griggs

    And this Chris “the jerk” stuff really? Carpenter is about winning… he yelled at brendan ryan last year due to the fact that ryan came onto the field with the wrong glove. Your a pro ball player you should be able to recognize your glove when taking the field. Carpenter when not on the mound is a huge mentor to guys like jaime garcia and one of the biggest supporters of his club. He’s always into the game and rooting for his guys, never acting like he’s above his team that’s just a load of crap and whoever said that obviously didn’t watch any cards games last year or any of the previous years carp has been here class act stand up guy all the way. Brandon phillips and cueto on the other hand are scrubs…. phillips needs to learn how to shut his mout or play to back it up he knows neither. Cueto really? Kicking la rue in the face he could have hit him in the eye with the lil girl mentallity of kicking like that he ended his career and all cueto got was basically a 1 game suspension what a load of crap he deserved to be suspended for a lot more games and a heavy fine.

    • Wilson Title

      Please you would rather have three guys over 8??
      Ask any GM in baseball and they wil take the 8 regardless of how talented or young the three are.
      To say that you think that the Reds pitchers are average also just shows your general lack of baseball knowledge. Maybe if you would watch a game and learn something other than just being a dumb blind Cardinals fan then you could make more educated comments.
      Come on shawn “the jerk” griggs

  • Ryan Smith

    All you Cardinal fans can stick it up your own crawl. You’re just pissing down your leg because you lost the division last year. And yall can go ahead and get your crying eyes ready because this will be your last year to suck off Pujols since your ownership is cheaper than a two dollar whore and won’t sign him to what he’s worth in the offseason. Here’s an idea: since the Reds are going to have the best offense in the division for the next, oh lets say 10 years, maybe your guys should hop on over to McGwire’s office and pick up a few rounds of ‘roids. I’m sure the old bastard has just enough anabolics left in the old briefcase to sacrifice the integrity of the organization a little more.

  • shawn griggs

    My lack of baseball knowledge? I put the stats down they don’t lie… but I guess your. right those reds pitchers aren’t average most are below average with those era’s. Your an idiot who wants to bash cardinals fans because you wish u could be a cardinals fan and enjoy the sucess we’ve had and will continue to have because we are not the reds. The cardinals are a team of class, unlike what we all witnessed with the words of brandon phillips…. and to the other moron that thinks your gonna have the best offense for the next 10 years … really!? Talk about a lack of baseball knowledge this is a bunch of people that know nothing about baseball have fun getting your ass handed to you all year jus like the season series between the cards and your post season whatever you wanna call it haha scary I tell ya those reds look out!

  • Steve Engbloom

    No, stats don’t lie, Shawn, but they can tell you more than just about the pitcher that posted those stats.

    Wainwright had an excellent season with his 20-11 record and scant 2.40 ERA. I will give you that. In fact, I like Wainwright as a pitcher. I’ve actually felt he doesn’t get his due. Even as a Reds fan, I will go so far as to say he should have two Cy Young’s. His last two season have been that good.

    But I must ask, why would a guy with an ERA that low lose 11 games? I know you could fire back and say the exact same about Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44). Follow me here a little more, please. I will answer.

    I’ll post some more of your stats you brought to the table. Combined, Carpenter and Garcia were 29-17 with an ERA of 3.02. Arroyo and Cueto posted the exact same record but a higher ERA of 3.77. What do all the stats you have presented tell us?

    The Reds pitchers were the beneficiaries of run support having the NL’s best offense behind them. There’s the difference. The Reds offense was more productive last season. While I will give you the Cards pitching was better in 2010, the Reds offense was better.

    You could so far as to say the Reds won the division in spite of their pitching and I wouldn’t argue. The Reds won the division with their offense and defense. The Reds committed the least errors in the NL with 72. That can win you a game or two as well.

  • Wilson Title

    Can I get you a tissue Griggs?
    The Reds won the division last year.
    The Reds have a better minor league system according to Baseball America (7th ranked system)
    The Reds have the reigning NL MVP.
    We arent about to lost our MVP, and we arent about to have to pay him 30 million to stay.
    Buster Olney called Tony LaRussa “baseball’s least personable man”
    Chris Carpenter really is a jerk. No one else in baseball even thought about publicly berating a teammate like he did Brendan Ryan.
    Phillips just smack talked. Welcome to sports…it happens all the time. Yadi Molina got his panties in a wad and turned it into something that he didnt need to.
    The Reds also won the division last year if I didnt mention that…..
    You can talk about how many division titles you used to win, but that time has changed and the Reds were the better team last year, and I honestly think they will win again in 2011.
    The class of the Cardinal organization is shown loud and clear with your classless posts.

  • shawn griggs

    Agreed that the reds offense was great last year and D … the cards D was awful and our offense wasn’t so solid but with a healthy david freese consistant theriot and the addition of berkman the cards offense will be better. The defense is improved minus berkman in the outfield which isn’t expected to be spectacular by any means but better defense stellar pitching and a more consistant offense the cardinals will be the team to beat

    • Wilson Title

      How do you figure that the Cardinals defense is improved?
      They added Berkman in the outfield, and they ran off Brendan Ryan who was the best defensive shortstop in the NL Central last year. He may have even been able to make a case as the best in the NL.
      With Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs continuing to improve, the Reds offense will be better.
      With Cueto, Wood, Leake, Chapman, Bailey improving and a full season of Volquez, the Reds pitching will be better.
      With Paul Janish at short the Reds defense will be better.

      Therefore the Reds are the team to beat. That is a more convincing argument than just talking about Freese and Berkman

    • Steve Engbloom

      When Freese went down last season, that pretty much put things in a bind for your guys. I thought so anyway. They could never find an adequate replacement. If the Cards had the Pedro Feilz of about four years ago, things might have been different.

      I’m not sold on Theriot defensively though. He’s about the same from a numbers standpoint in that department as Ryan. Offensively, an upgrade for sure especially since Ryan barely cracked the Mendoza line last year.

      I don’t know if I would go so far as the refer to the staff as stellar. Wainwright and Carpenter are formidable any time they take the hill. Garcia, just like the young Reds pitchers, is still a work in progress. He had a good 2010 which was a surprise to some. If Garcia can duplicate last year, then he’s well on his way. Put together back-to-back seasons. Not saying he can’t.

      After that, you seriously have to wonder though. Is Jake Westbrook all he’s been made out to be? Is Kyle Lohse back from his ails? And with all due respect, you cannot bring up Shelby Milller even though he’s MLB’s 20th rated prospect. He’s never pitched above A ball.

  • Wilson Title
  • shawn griggs

    I live in st.louis I’m well aware that albert is a free agent after this season if we don’t get a deal done. I’m not worried about it albert is goin no where he will be here for the rest of his career he has made that clear he wants to be apart of the tradition and leave his legacy like all the other cardinal greats. He talks about stan musial and wanting to stay with one team for his career not worried about it at all. Brendan ryan had potential he made a ton of mistakes last year and was horrible at the plate. Theriot will provide more consistancy punto will help sure up the defense in late innings and add speed. Berkman will put up a very solid year a lot better numbers offensivley speaking then what we had last year in right john jay and allen craig. Another year for jaime garcia a full year for westbrook under duncan. Jason motte and mcclellan are very solid in the pen albert holliday colby berkman will provide more than enough offense

  • shawn griggs

    I don’t kno what your talkin about with this classless post stuff I’m stating facts and my opinions. You don’t like it don’t read it

  • shrews824

    You know all this talk about stats and personnel doesn’t mean anything unless the team gels at the right time and gets it done in the postseason. Look at the Yankees and Red Sox. They have the best talent money can buy, but they were not cohesive nor did they play to their potential therefore they faltered when it mattered most. The Reds have a good young crop that seems to respect and appreciate what each player brings to the team. Their first run at the postseason was a disappointment, but they live and they learn from “rookie” mistakes. The best teams “stat wise” don’t always win or play the best. Just my opinion.

    • Steve Engbloom

      Sometimes stats blind us all!

  • Wilson Title

    I agree but that is another thing that I would say favors the Reds.
    The Reds seemed to have better chemistry last year than the Cardinals.
    I am saying this because of the Chris Carpenter/Brendan Ryan incident.
    Also because of the Colby Rasmus/Tony LaRussa beef that emerged.

  • shawn griggs

    Let’s go position by position…. 1b albert or votto albert hands down 2b phillips or skip as much as I hate to say it phillips 3b freese or rolen with rolens age I’m goin with a toss up ss theriot or janish close again pretty similar players left field holliday or gomes holliday centerfield colby or stubbs colby right field bruce or berkman maybe bruce but berkman could put up a big season pitching staff cardinals… manager la russa over baker every day of the week baker has done nothing his whole career. This is why the cardinals will win the central

    • Steve Engbloom

      I can go with this for the most part. Here is where I do not.

      I do give third to Rolen. Freese missed most of last season. I know Rolen didn’t perform well at the plate in the second half (and them a bit more), but he did make up for it with defense.

      Center field, Stubbs is the choice despite all his strikeouts. He’s a better fielder. Plus, Stubbs drove in more runs with one less HR. He brings more to the table. If the guy would just learn to bunt…

      Left field is no maybe. It’s Bruce. He posted the best range factor among right fielders in the NL last season.

      As I stated above, I don’t believe the pitching staff is solely in favor of the Cards either if you’re taking it as a whole. I like the Cards top three, but after that, I have concerns. You like to write off the Reds depth (even though it is young), but it must be considered. Cincy has the ability to replace a starter if another lands on the DL. They did it for an extended period last year. I’m not sure the Cards could afford that. From a stat only standpoint, I agree. But as I’ve already outlined, you cannot go just on a stat line alone.

  • Wilson Title

    Stubbs and Bruce are getting better. Berkman is getting worse. But nonetheless Bruce is already clearly better.

  • shawn griggs

    Colby’s getting better as well his numbers were better than stubbs last year other than rbi’s . So once again colby over stubbs. Bruce over berkman fielding yes offense no. Oh and colby did it with less games played.

  • Wilson Title

    I will personally guarantee you that Bruce blows away Berkman this year offensively. Just remember I was the first one to tell you it happened. For now Ill concede to a draw between Rasmus and Stubbs because I do like Rasmus and McGwire will be beneficial to him.

  • shawn griggs

    I don’t about that one I’ve got some faith in skinny elvis… I think he’s gonna put up some real good numbers. It will be fun though for sure at least this rivalery the other team has a shot meaning the reds cubs cards just isn’t what it used to be so all this is good for baseball. Ill be up there may 13 thru 15th watchin my boys whoop that reds ass in cincy though haha goodluck to ya guys

  • kevinfrancis

    if carp was on the reds you’d love him.just like back in the day how everyone who wasn’t a reds fan hated pete rose.

    old school, crabby…whatever. the media is more pervasive these days, always looking for a sound bite. you gotta remember carp cut his teeth back on that legendary blue jays staff. he knows what it takes to win. his career has been declared dead at least twice. he is the definition of crabby old guy. people in st.louis call him “suitcase” because of an unreported story where he decked a teammate for lack of professionalism and the guy explained the shiner away as a result of having tripped over his luggage.

    if he pulls a “steve carlton” then all the better for the team, but not for us fans who loe to have something to chat about.

    be well, here is to an entertaining 2011 season!

  • shawn griggs

    What a class at johhny gomes is haha wow the whole orginization is a joke dust baker takin shots over wainwrights injury gomes and jockety… I can’t wait till carpenter puts one in gomes ear first at bat! Can’t believe how stupid one team can be blows my mind

    • Steve Engbloom

      I’m going to ask you a fair question here. If a Reds player had suffered a season ending injury, would you have run over here to rub it in our faces?

      Wait. I can answer that for you. Yes, you would have and you would have thrown in any other type of insult you could imagine. From the first time you posted a comment here, that has been your M.O. We know how you operate.

      And in case you’re interested, Shawn, you might want to check this out.

      Let me wrap it up for you since I realize you may not be able to read real sentences since you clearly cannot type one. McCoy was wrong in “translating” what Gomes was singing. There are two other writers that will back up Gomes. McCoy has backed off what he initially posted and even authored a retraction.

      Also, your god, Tony LaRussa, said that he doubted Gomes had done such.

      Then read this…

      Seems like you’re going to the Aaron Gleeman school of anti-journalism if you read anything in regards to Baker.

      And how does Walt get pulled into this whole thing? I know that answer is well. You have a guy as your GM that cannot find a way to keep the best player in the league from leaving.

      But I wouldn’t expect a Cards fan to understand such logic. Well, I do know a couple that do.

      What you have displayed here is the exact same that you’re accusing of Gomes, lack of class.

  • Alex Apple

    I love a good comment from Shawn Griggs lol!!!

  • shawn griggs

    Hey wilson what was it that you were telling me about bruce blowing away berkman offensivly this year! !??? Hahaha good call buddy!

  • hockeygy31

    @Wilson Title yep reds wont the division in 2010… and did what with it?? We took NL wildcard then won the world series again! That’s right number11 where were the reds this year?? Where was Bruce’s better year than berkman wasn’t that a personal guarantee Haha you reds fans are hysterical… any more wise predictions for this coming season?

  • hockeygy31

    @Wilson Title yep reds wont the division in 2010… and did what with it?? We took NL wildcard then won the world series again! That’s right number11 where were the reds this year?? Where was Bruce’s better year than berkman wasn’t that a personal guarantee Haha you reds fans are hysterical… any more wise predictions for this coming season?