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.

Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start with forearm tightness

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Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.

Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.

Ivan Nova finally issued his first walk. It was to an AL pitcher taking his first major league at-bat.

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Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.

That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.

Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.