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.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.