Man, those Cardinals and their balls…
Apparently, Chris Carpenter was having some trouble with his balls on Opening Day. The Cardinals’ ace was a little peeved about slick balls at Great American Ball Park. Even though he allowed only two runs in six innings and earned the victory, Carpenter would like his balls to be properly rubbed down before his team’s next trip to Cincinnati.
Last season, John Smoltz complained about his balls being slippery during a game at Great American Ball Park. He complained that he could not control his balls if he was unable to get a firm grip on them. Cardinals pitching coach, Dave Duncan, even accused Bronson Arroyo of enhancing his ability to grip his own balls by having pine tar on his hat. He said that he had never seen a Major League baseball game played with balls like that.
In both instances, multiple members of the St. Louis bullpen played and, evidently, had no issues with their balls. If they did, they kept quiet about it. I am sure it would be hard to discuss having issues with your balls.
Tony La Russa isn’t directly blaming anyone. He thinks maybe the Reds pitchers just simply don’t like to have their balls rubbed up as much.
Maybe Aaron Harang should have had his balls rubbed up a little more on Monday? He suffered another Opening Day loss while Carpenter turned in a quality start.
Dusty Baker said it best when asked about Carpenter and the issues with his balls, “He threw pretty good. I’d hate to see him pitching if he had non-slippery balls.”