The St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds are not natural rivals, but as the Cardinals and Houston Astros proved in 2004 and 2005, that's not the only way to turn a friendly NL Central series into a minor bloodbath. After 2010 saw the Reds surprise baseball with an NL Central title and Jason LaRue with a jumpkick to the face, 2011 promises to be even more heated than the year before—at least if newly tweeting Brandon Phillips has anything to say about it.
Friday's starters, Edinson Volquez and Kyle McClellan, are both among the more enigmatic starters in the division. Volquez is a flame-throwing right-hander off to a rough start, while McClellan is a former reliever who's been outstanding in his first month in the rotation. Saturday we'll see Travis Wood against Chris Carpenter, and Sunday Sam LeCure will pitch, according to reports, against a short-rested Jake Westbrook.
Umpires, fans, and players will all be on guard for perceived slights, which should make this the tensest April series we've seen in a while.