Francisco Cordero, Edinson Volquez

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.

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.