Brandon Phillips isn't shy about saying the St. Louis Cardinals are the best club in baseball, even though his Cincinnati Reds aren't far behind.
Given how well Adam Wainwright and Mike Leake have pitched recently, Friday night's series opener in Cincinnati appears to be a pretty even matchup.
The Cardinals (39-21) lead the Reds (36-24) by three games in the NL Central after beating Arizona 12-8 on Thursday, hitting a season-high five homers. Matt Holliday went 2 for 3 with a two-run shot in the first.
David Freese extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games for St. Louis, which had dropped three of its previous four.
The Reds have lost three of four, falling 12-4 to Colorado on Wednesday. Cincinnati didn't score after Xavier Paul hit a three-run homer in the first inning.
The Reds have played each game in that stretch without Phillips, who has been dealing with a bruised left forearm. He expects to return Friday against a St. Louis team that has won fou...