Zack Greinke calls Chris Carpenter a “phony”

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Pre-series trash-talking is as rare as it is awesome in this modern era of Major League Baseball.

The Cardinals and Brewers don’t like each other. It’s a feud that goes back several years, to when the “Brew Crew” began celebrating their regular season victories by un-tucking their jerseys. Loud-mouthed center fielder Nyjer Morgan has only helped fuel that fire with his arrival in Milwaukee this year, and now another newcomer is getting in on the act.

Here’s what NLCS Game 1 starter Zack Greinke told a group of reporters Saturday when asked about the relationship between the two National League Central rivals — and specifically NLCS Game 3 starter Chris Carpenter — during a press conference at Miller Park (via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch):

“A lot of guys on our team don’t like Carpenter. … His attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude.”

Strong words about a 36-year-old ace, fresh off the finest pitching performance of his career. Let’s hope, for entertainment purposes, that both sides remain pissed off and talkative throughout the seven-game set.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.