Chris Duncan and LHP

Every time Chris Duncan sits against a left-hander, I get emails complaining about it. So I wanted to get this out there:

Even before today’s game, when Duncan is starting against a LHP, only four players on the team have more at-bats against lefties than Chris Duncan. Those four players are Wilson, Eckstein, Taguchi and Pujols. Duncan is third on the Cardinals in total at-bats, behind only Eckstein and Pujols. He’s not in a platoon situation, not like Edmonds or even Kennedy has been thus far. He’s just not going to play 162 games, and when he gets a day off, it will be against a left-handed pitcher.

Opening Night was odd, I admit. I was surprised by that. But, say, the last game in Pittsburgh, that made total sense. It was a day game after a night game. He had been slumping. AND it was a left-hander. So why not give the guy a break?

-M.

18 Comments

Glad to see Dunc in there. I was little suprised to see 3 leftys in there, but leftys are batting .300 against Lilly this year. Small sample size, but still a small positive.

I first read that as “Every time Chris Duncan HITS against a left-hander,” and to me that makes more sense, from a complaint perspective. Matt, how much time did Dunc get in versus lefties in spring training? If he’s going to be a big-time contributor, he’s eventually going to have to learn to face lefties with some degree of success, but on-the-job training doesn’t seem like the best way to do that learning, at least when the goal is for the team to win. Isn’t that kind of thing what spring training is for?

Looks like a good game so far. You came to Chicago at the right time; we just came out of a cold spell. Must be nice at the park today.

Enjoying reading your work Matthew (even though I’m a Cubs fan).

I can respect the fact that Duncan is a young hitter, so ultimately I won’t complain if he sits on occasion in a bad matchup. He’s got an itchy trigger finger. He struck out 4 times in that 12 inning game the other night, I watched all 4. Pitiful stuff, but the opposing pitching was good. But I believe he can become more patient and progress as a hitter, especially with a guy like Pujols in the lineup. So I’m not too worried. I’ll just be happier when we’re not relying on Eckstein and Duncan for our total offense.

My question was not meant to be a complaint. I was merely asking, so I know whether I should bench him for my Fantasy team :)

Heh, no worries, it was something I had been meaning to post for a while, because I do get lots of email about it.

-M.

The main problem I have with him sitting is that he’s the only consistent batter on the entire team right now. ;) I just feel safer when he’s in the line-up, personally.

Matt,
You know there are people who aren’t happy unless they’re complaining about something, right?

As far as who plays and who doesn’t, TLR knows a whole lot more about the game than me; that’s why gets paid to manage, and I don’t. Who am I to question him?

Dunc is still a young guy, but he is productive in spite of an occasional bad day. Wish we could say the same about Preston Wilson. His gamewinner yesterday will just extend his time with the Carda a bit more. For my money, it would be better to bring in another developing player than pay Wilson to stick around.

Matt,

I enjoy your thoughts on the Birds; living in Cleveland makes following my Cardinals a bit difficult (especially when ESPN plays only Yanks-Sox games). I was wondering what happened to the mailbag you used to operate. Is it gone forever, or can I just not find it?

Matt,
This is unrelated to Duncan, but I read an article on ESPN by Enrique Rojas about Miguel Cabrera saying he’d like to be traded to St. Louis should he be moved. What do you think the chances, however slim, that Cabrera gets traded here or would sign here as a free agent in 2009? How much would you expect to have to give up for him in trade or free agent dollars? Obviously, he’s great and getting better, but is it worth giving up a Colby Rasmus type prosect?

* Mailbag is very much alive. We had a new one last week, and another one going up in a couple hours or so today.

* There is not a player in the Cardinals farm system I would not give up to get Miguel Cabrera. There is no package of three players in the system I would not give up to get Miguel Cabrera. The dude is absurdly good, and he’s 24.

-M.

Sorry to keep pestering, but what are the chances that Cabrera could get moved and to St. Louis? This sounds too good to be true, even as a rumor.

It’s hard to imagine. If Cabrera were available, there seem to be many teams with prospect/young player packages that would be more appealing to the Marlins. The Angels, for one.

-M.

Matt,

I don’t know how you can claim Duncan isn’t being shielded from left-handers and isn’t in a platoon. Like you said, he is third in total at bats behind Eckstein and Pujols. Yet, the two people he is platooning with (Wilson and Taguchi) both have more at bats against left-handers than Duncan does, thus, they are obviously being played ahead of Duncan against lefties. I agree there are times Dunc needs a day off, but not every off day needs to be a day a lefty pitches.

As far as the Cabrera situation…

No way this happens. The Marlins, reportedly (Matt a little help on the validity of this), turned down Duncan/Reyes/Rasmus for Dontrelle Willis last year. If this is true, I don’t see any way the Cardinals can possibly trade for Cabrera as that combo of players the Cards offered is pretty much as good it gets as far as young talent the Cardinals have for young trade bait…sans adding Wainwright.

On a side note, I saw the Springfield Cardinals play the Tulsa Drillers Saturday night. Rauschemberger (sp?) got lit up giving up 5 in 4 innings I think. Then for some reason I thought they brought in Jamie Garcia (which made no sense so I get the feeling I heard the announcer wrong) and gave up a two run dinger. The Cardinals lost. John Jay was more impressive than Rasmus was…in the field and the plate.

Well, I personally think Duncan should be playing against lefties, b/c theres not another player on their bench who can hit as well as he can against any pitcher.

Now, so why is DUNCAN sitting out today against a Right handed pitcher today then….LaRussa plays his bench way to much and I get sick of seeing Taguchi or Shumacker come in and make errors and stand at the plate without the threat of hitting that Duncan has blindfolded.

LaRussa needs to stop trying to make this all about him and let the guys play who should be playing everyday…he’s the only coach who is soo worried how much his bench plays regardless of how many games it costs them

It’s not always wise to jump to conclusions. Duncan was a last-minute scratch, and it’s my understanding that it may be due to a physical issue.

I’ll have more after the game, when we know more.

-M.

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