It was the second consecutive trip to Cincinnati that the situation annoyed a Cardinals pitcher. Last September, John Smoltz expressed the same concern. Baseballs are to be rubbed down with mud before each game. When there's insufficient mud, the ball can be exceedingly slick when a pitcher tries to throw it.
"It doesn't bother me," said Carpenter, who brought the matter up to home-plate umpire Mike Reilly during the game. "It doesn't affect me. Mentally, I continue to execute and do the things that I have to do. But there's absolutely no question that the balls here, I got balls that didn't have anything on them."
Carpenter pitched a fine game, allowing two runs on five hits over six innings. And he did not bring up the baseballs in his postgame media session. But when he was asked about it, the ace had no qualms about addressing the matter.
"I don't know if they do it on purpose, intentionally or unintentionally," he said. "It's no big deal. I understand [Reds starter] Aaron Harang is throwing the same baseballs. If they're not doing it intentionally, they need to take a look at it. If they are doing it intentionally, it's unprofessional.
"I respect everybody over there. I respect [manager Dusty Baker]. I respect [general manager Walt Jocketty], of course, and everybody that runs this organization. They've got quality people over there that run it. It's just something that needs to be brought up. The fact is that ultimately their guys that pitch with them all the time might be used to it. But the worst thing that could happen is, you come in here and you're throwing cue balls up there and something gets away and one of their guys get hurt."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less