Tuesday tidbits: Duncan, Rolen, LaRue

Hello from Houston, where it’s a nice, cool 73 degrees under the roof.

* TLR took serious issue with the singling out of Chris Duncan today. It was in response to a question about pinch-hitting with Duncan in place of Brendan Ryan last night — an understandable move given that Jose Valverde has an enormous platoon split and that Ryan was not having a good game at the plate.

Here’s the entirety of his comments, with a couple of edits to make sure it is acceptable on a family blog and to make sure it makes sense:

“Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Valverde, [lefties are] hitting .300 versus .140 [for righties]. And did Ryan have a particularly good day? How can people ask? What’s the question there? A guy who could hit a two-run homer versus Brendan doing what? Looking futile again?

“Did anybody watch Brendan’s at-bats?

“Chris is a … whipping boy. I’m so tired of the unfairness with Chris Duncan, it makes me want to vomit. You can tell anybody … that he’s getting treated unfairly. It makes me want to vomit. That’s why I get upset as soon as he gets mentioned.

“They’ve got a great reputation in our town, but it’s not a perfect reputation.

“It’s a pretty clear difference [for Valverde between right- and left-handed hitters]. Plus Chris, even when he struggles, he’s one of our better pinch-hitters.

“This guy is treated unfairly. For fans that have the reputation that they have, that they deserve, they do have a couple quirks that are not fair. And he’s one of them.

“What’s so ridiculous is, if you watch Brendan, Brendan had no chance yesterday for some reason. So he’s going to do better in that at-bat? That’s ridiculous if you think about it. I think it’s ridiculous. And it has to do with the guy that pinch-hit. It’s really a black eye for some of our fans that are not objective about him for whatever reason. I’m not sure what it is. I can’t figure it out.”

My take, personally, not that you asked, is that he has SOMETHING of a point. Not that Duncan or anyone should be immune from criticism. He and Ankiel are both struggling badly. But it has always seemed to me that all things being equal, Duncan gets singled out more than pretty much any other Cardinal, and the tone does get really nasty at times.

* TLR also pretty swiftly shot down any notion of re-acquiring Scott Rolen. Here’s the entry I wrote about it over at the MLB.com Trade Talk blog.

* Jason LaRue got the start over Molina tonight for a lot of reasons, including the string of days without a day off, and the fact that they prefer Molina to catch Carpenter and Wainwright the next two days. When the LaRue-Wellemeyer thing was brought up, TLR quickly pointed out that Molina caught Wellemeyer’s last good start, on July 2.

Tonight’s playlist:
Pearl Jam, “The Fixer”
Matt and Kim, “Daylight”
U2, “Magnificent”
Living Colour, “DecaDance”
Beastie Boys, “Pass the Mic” (get well, Yauch!)

-M.

 

7 Comments

Matthew — Question for you. Why is it improper for you journos to single out Chris Duncan and throw him under the bus, but it’s not for Tony to do the same with Brendan Ryan. Ryan didn’t have a good game with the stick, but does Tony really need to bash that repeatedly just to deflect some criticism off of Duncan? Especially given history of Ryan and Tony.

Tony has the right to say whatever he wants and defend his players, but if he can, for lack of a better word, bash one of his own why can’t journalists and fans do the same?

I think there’s a big difference between doing it one time like that and the way it gets with Duncan.

-M.

Come on Tony your better then this!! I know this is Duncan’s kid and all but he is pathetic at the plate this year. No Power and no eye for the ball. At least Ankiel and Brendan Ryan will play solid Defense. i got a feeling if it was anyone else he would of already been optioned to Memphis. Duncan is here for his power, which he has lost this year. If he isn’t healthy DL him, if he is and he can’t hit above .220 then make him go away or put him on the bench permanently…thats what he deserves, whether it makes you vomit to think about it or not! Furthermore he should be ashamed of himself for saying anything negative about Brendan Ryan no matter how his at bats were…he was a special player at shortstop last night!

slata4’s got it… sure, Duncan was/is a first baseman asked to play left and that’s a good part of why his defense tends to be abysmal (and I acknowledge that he’s worked hard, if not all that successfully, at the position) and, sure, Duncan has been hurt and that’s a good part of why his power is gone and, at best, he’s hitting .250… but the thing that gets Cards fans going is that when Duncan has looked completely lost at the plate all game he almost never gets hit for late and almost always swings at the first pitch, gets in a hole and fails to come through… our issues with Duncan in large part are displaced frustration with TLR’s managing and the hitting coach’s inability (I hope) to get Dunc and Ank to stop swinging at the first pitch no matter what it is.
Singling out Ryan is lame, lame, lame: no one was questioning pinch hitting for Ryan… it was WHO pinch hit for him and THAT GUY’S historical lack of success in such situations that was the problem… the question was actually (probably) about TLR’s choice NOT (necessarily) a criticism of Duncan… but TLR doesn’t second guess himself, which is why… oh, you all know the rest…

I agree with slata4 I think there are at least 3 reasons that Duncan gets more heat than Ankiel.

1. His defense is HORRIBLE. It’s an adventure every time the ball is hit near him and if he does catch it he is usually in a poor position to make a throw and his arm seems weak to me. Although I will give him credit for making several spectacular plays that I’ve seen this season and I DON’T THINK ANYONE CAN SAY HE DOESN’T GIVE 100% effort. But he just isn’t a major league caliber outfielder.

2. If we can believe what we hear from the journalists, Ankiel is still not 100% physically and so you cut him A LITTLE slack. Especially since the way he injured himself looked like a suicide run to make a play for the team. And he is a MAJOR defensive improvement over Duncan. BUT that having been said I still hear a healthy amount of criticism of his bat and I think it is deserved. If he isn’t right then put him on the DL and get him right. Also maybe he needs some time in AAA to regain his stroke. Right now he looks lost. His timing is way out of wack and it looks to me like he can’t hit an off-speed pitch to save his life.

3. Whether or not it is true I have to believe that there are many who believe that there is some nepotism going on. That really rankles when it looks like the Cards have a shot at winning the Central and once in the playoffs with Carpenter, Wainwright, Lohse, and Piniero they have a fair shot at winning #11. BUT THEY FIRST HAVE TO WIN THE CENTRAL.

I think they need to GET WELLEMEYER OUT OF THE ROTATION. They say he’s the best they can do but I have a hard time believing a guy who allows nearly 2 (if not more) base runners an inning is the best they can do. If so they better be looking to a trade for a pitcher NOT a bat.

Oops I forgot to comment on Ryan! I’m sure that TLR wasn’t intending to criticize Ryan as much as to defend his actions vis-avis Duncan. But his comments I think were harsh and undeserved. Everyone has a bad night on occasion and I saw Ryan start a double play on Monday night that I simply couldn’t believe. He has played brilliantly at SS this year and his bat seems to be improving consistently. I, for one, think Ryan has been an incredibly pleasant surprise and I hope they keep him around and help him get even better. I think he has the potential to be a GREAT major league shortstop.

I also want to say that I don’t always agree with TLR’s decisions during games and sometimes I wonder about some of his comments off the field (I think they some times stem from being frustrated as I think he HATES to lose). BUT the guy is one of the most successful managers in the history of the game AND he has taken a team which for intents and purposes is a team full of rookies and has them in 1st place at the All Star break. Let’s hope thqt he can keep them there.

However, in your case, not only do you set yourself up to fail by not having learned
this game, you also create an expectation of failure.

The above theory explains exactly why you’re tired after sex.
And, as was mentioned, exercise sneakers are for exercise only; older, “less optimal for exercise” versions
are ready for wet weather, muddy trails, & yardwork.

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