The Reds and Cardinals are getting ugly. And it’s wonderful.

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Yeah, I’m using this picture again. It’s a great picture.

I have absolutely no plans to take a side in the increasingly ugly Reds-Cardinals rivalry. I’m just thankful that it’s as intense as it is, because baseball needs a good hate-filled rivalry right now.  Giants-Dodgers still has bile but that got too damn real this year — let’s keep our hatred between the lines, please —  so we can’t enjoy it.  The Yankees and Red Sox really don’t seem to take much displeasure in the other’s company these days, perhaps because they realized that they have far more in common with one another than anything else.

But boy those Reds and Cardinals hate one another. And it was on display in that shouting match at the end of yesterday’s game following Albert Pujols getting hit by the pitch from Francisco Cordero.

About that:  while I’m not going to take sides in the rivalry — I hope they end the season tied for first and then have to play a 17 inning playoff against each other — I do think that Dave Duncan and the Cardinals were wrong to take umbrage at Cordero, because it makes little if any sense that he was throwing at Pujols.  It was an inside pitch, but not terribly inside, and given the situation — close game, Pujols representing the tying run and an imploding Reds’ bullpen — there was no way he was trying to hit Pujols.

Wait: I was just talking about nastiness, and that explanation was too nice.  Let’s let reader metalhead65 explain it, as he did in the comments of the Aroldis Chapman post this morning.  His comment was inspired the passage I wrote that went “… lost in the Reds’ victory …”  I’m leaving the lack of capitalization intact, because it helps communicate the passion and urgency of it all:

Craig,the only thing lost in the reds victory was Brandon Phillips once again being proven right about his comment on the cards being whiny bitches. they lost the game and series but were crying that king albert was being hit on purpose? go to a cards blog today and read where the so called best and most knowledgeable fans agree with that thought and it makes you wonder how they got that reputation. he was ahead in the count 0-2 and trying to get out of the jam chapman put them in and he is going to hit king albert to face 2 of the best hitters in the national league?one of which has hit more homers in cincy than any other player?

this is the reason reds fans hate the cardnials and thier fans. once again they show thier double standard when it comes to that team. it is ok for thier pitcher to hit the reds starting catcher in the wrist fri. and nothing is said but a reds pitcher has 1 get away in a situation he can’t afford for it to happen and it is intentional? and he is supposed to stand thier and take abuse from a bench coach and a third string catcher? the guy who got hit knows it was not on purpose but the rest of those clowns have to mouth off? you lost and no longer own the reds deal with it!

Like I said, I neither endorse nor condemn those comments. And for equal time, go to the Post-Dispatch’s fan comment board to hear Cardinals fans jawing at Cordero and the Reds. I just want this level of intensity to continue because it’s great fun.

The Reds meet the Cardinals again on July 4th.  This is gonna be an awesome summer in the Midwest.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”