|Dut Baker: The Razor Ramon of Major League Baseball|
This week, Brandon Phillips started off the biggest series of the year in the NL Central with his profanity-laced tirade about the Cardinals. He called them whiners. He called them bitches. And he made sure that everyone knew that he was being serious. Phillips (2 for 14 in the series, by the way) did it after game 1 of the series in which St. Louis (one of the winningest franchises of the past decade) kicked the shit out of them.
Tuesday night, Phillips started a first inning brawl that we all saw highlights of. He comes to bat in the first to do his "tap the catcher on the shinguards with his bat" routine. Yadier Molina didn't take too kindly to that as well he shouldn't. If somebody talks shit about me and my teammates and then just assumes that there will be no repercussions...there are going to be repercussions. A brawl commenced. Reds SP, Johnny Cueto, acted like a punk bitch by kicking two Cardinals with his spikes. It damn near spilled over into the stands. The Reds lost that game and then lost the finale yesterday. They were swept at home, none of the games were close, and blew a 2 game lead in the division. Well done.
So what do we take from this? Simple. The Reds aren't ready for the big stage and have no idea what they're doing. They lack leadership. Which makes sense because their manager is awful. You just don't do that. Phillips was WAY out of line. That shit did not need to be said. The Cardinals have been playing a bit below expectations all season. They absolutely did not need to be called out. Now the Reds have awaken a sleeping giant. There is no doubt that St. Louis is the better team. It's damn near a miracle that the Reds are only a game back in the division even after getting swept.
What the Reds should be doing is worrying about themselves. The only thing that they control is their play on the field. Let's be honest, too, this season is about 60-70% fluke anyway. They are getting a TON of mileage out of really young starters and crappy veterans (Bronson Arroyo). Their closer is the reincarnation of Joe Borowski but with a Latin beat. Freaking Arthur Rhodes was an all-star. Joey Votto set aside his suicidal tendencies to play to his potential. Scott Rolen has somehow not gotten injured. The Reds horrendous OF is playing way out of their asses. Winning that many one run games isn't a skill or a sign of greatness...it's pretty damn lucky. And it has to be with an idiot like Dusty Baker running the show.
Basically, what we saw this week was a feelgood story finally realizing that they don't have what it takes and resulted to childish name-calling. I am officially writing the Reds off this season. The Cards will win the Central by at least 4 games. It was a nice run and all, but your warts have been exposed. No team has more wins over sub-.500 teams this season than Cincy. Good for you. That doesn't mean that you belong in the playoffs. Not with Bronson Arroyo as your probable game 1 starter.
So unless a real-life version of Angels In The Outfield takes place with Marge Schott playing the role of the angel (maybe Demons In The Outfield makes more sense), you can forget about October baseball in the Queen City. At least you still have T.O.