MILWAUKEE — In a Milwaukee Brewers clubhouse filled with oversized personalities, the first shot at the rival St. Louis Cardinals going into Game 1 of the NL championship series came from a surprising source: Starting pitcher Zack Greinke, whose bout with social anxiety disorder typically make him one of the least likely to pop off.
Speaking to reporters at Miller Park on Saturday, Greinke said the Brewers don’t like Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter when he shouts at batters from the mound.
“They think his presence, his attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude,” Greinke said. “And then he yells at people. He just stares people down and stuff. And most pitchers just don’t do that. And when guys do, I guess some hitters get mad. Some hitters do it to pitchers. But when you do that some people will get mad.
“There’s other pitchers in the league that do it, but, I don’t know,” Greinke said, “a lot of guys on our team don’t like Carpenter.”
The NL Central champion Brewers send Geinke to the mound for the opener against the wild-card Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia today. With a World Series trip on the line for the 1982 Series opponents, an already-simmering rivalry could reach a new level of intensity.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa vigorously defended Carpenter, saying he was “very disappointed” with Greinke.
“That’s a bad comment to make unless you know Chris Carpenter,” La Russa said. “Our attitude is we look at ourselves and we grade ourselves. And even if we don’t like what’s happening on the other side, it’s not our business, unless somebody crosses the line. So I think the Brewers should take care of their players.”
Carpenter spoke to reporters before Greinke made his comments, and downplayed any suggestion that the two teams don’t like each other.
“I don’t think that’s a fact,” Carpenter said. “I think we have great respect for them. I hope they have the same for us.”
But there have been several flashpoints between the Brewers and Cardinals throughout the season, and Carpenter was squarely in the middle of perhaps the most intense moment.
In a Sept. 7 game at St. Louis, Morgan struck out and he and Carpenter swore at each other. Albert Pujols got in the middle as the benches emptied.
No punches were thrown, but Nyjer Morgan later posted messages on his Twitter account saying he hoped “those crying birds” would enjoy watching the Brewers in the playoffs.
He referred to Pujols as “Alberta.”