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Mets enter the Cardinals series with bad blood

The rain washed away Monday’s showdown between the Mets and Cardinals, but it remains to be seen if tensions since the teams last met will ease as well.

Tuesday’s doubleheader at Citi Field is now the first time the Mets and Cardinals have squared off against each other since their memorable three-game streak in St. Louis in late April, which ended in a brawl and discipline.

Still, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said Monday that there had been no warning from or discussions with MLB ahead of the series regarding the teams’ recent bad blood.

When asked if he was expecting a kidnapping, Marmol insisted he wasn’t thinking about it.

“Honestly, I didn’t even think about it until you just brought it up,” Marmol said. “It actually took me a second to understand what you were asking. So no.”

Neither Mets manager Buck Showalter nor his players were made available to reporters Monday because of the rain.

Nolan Arenado starts a brawl during the first Mets-Cardinals series.
Nolan Arenado starts a brawl during the first Mets-Cardinals series.
USA TODAY sports

The last series between the teams was not lacking in drama.

The series opener included the Mets’ rally with two away games and five runs in the ninth inning to win 5-2. There was only one hit-by-pitch in that game, where Mark Canha was knocked down by Miles Mikolas.

The middlegame, a 3-0 Mets win, included five hit-by-pitches — the Mets were drilled three times, including Pete Alonso in the head, and the Cardinals twice.

Tensions finally exploded in the series finale, a 10-5 Cardinals win, when Edmundo Sosa was hit by a Carlos Carrasco pitch in the fourth inning, JD Davis was hit by a Genesis Cabrera pitch in the eighth inning and then knocked down by Nolan Arenado was knocked off an up-and-in pitch by Yoan Lopez at the bottom of the frame.

That caused the benches to empty, with plenty of shoving and shoving between the two sides, including Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp pulling Alonso down from behind.

Pete Alonso is brought down by St. Louis Cardinals first baseball coach Stubby Clapp.
Pete Alonso is brought down by St. Louis Cardinals first baseball coach Stubby Clapp.
AP

“If you want to hold me back, if you want to hold me back, approach me like a man,” Alonso said after the game. “I totally get that because I’m a big strong guy and the manager obviously wants protection for his team and his staff and I totally get it and I’m a big strong guy. You don’t know my temper and what I can do. If I wanted to take someone to the hospital, I could easily do that, but I was just out there trying to protect my boys.”

Of course, assuming Alonso plays at first base for at least one of Tuesday’s games, he and Clapp will spend nine innings a few yards apart.

As a result of the bench clearing incident, Arenado (two games, later reduced to one) and Cabrera (one game) were suspended, while Lopez, Taijuan Walker and Jack Flaherty (the latter two for leaving the dugout while on on the injured list) were punished.

Showalter didn’t seem happy to learn that Clapp hadn’t faced any form of discipline.

“Nothing? Really?” Showalter said on April 29, “Okey dokey.”

The Mets have often been frustrated with opponents they met in the first month plus of the season. The frequency with which they’ve been plunked has slowed, but they still entered Monday with an MLB-leading 25 hit-by-pitches.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ pitching team had hit 18 batters this season — five of them Mets — ranked fourth-most in MLB on Monday.

It’s possible that the three weeks between series may have cooled tempers, but it might not take much to reignite old flames during this four-game set.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/16/mets-enter-cardinals-series-with-bad-blood-looming/ Mets enter the Cardinals series with bad blood

JOE HERNANDEZ

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