Countdown To Opening Night: 18

Another day closer to the Cardinals season debut, a spring training win yesterday in green and red jerseys that looked more like a real game with the pitcher batting (plus Marco Gonzalez getting and RBI single) — yes, we can survive 18 more days. Right?

And No. 18 has been a frequently worn number for the Cardinals, with everyone from Mike Shannon (could there be a more Mike Shannon-like picture than this?) to Andy Van Slyke to Luis Alicea (for some reason, Harry Caray’s pronunciation of that name sticks out in my mind) having worn it. Tragically and touchingly, there is a new No. 18 for the 2015 Cardinals, with Carlos Martinez changing his number to honor last year’s No. 18, Oscar Taveras.

But the man who wore No. 18 the longest for the Cards is today’s spotlight.

St. Louis Cardinals v Houston Astros

Dave Duncan was the Cardinals pitching coach from 1996 to 2011, as well as for the White Sox with Tony La Russa from 1983 to 1986 and the Oakland A’s from 1986 to 1995. And he built a reputation of success during that tenure. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote about Duncan during the 2011 World Series:

He takes reclamation projects and turns them into assets. Two — Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley — won Cy Youngs with the A’s and another castoff who came to Oakland, Dave Stewart, won 20 games four straight years. He has been the pitching coach for four Cy Young winners (LaMarr Hoyt and Chris Carpenter too).

In addition to Chris Carpenter, we can all think of Cardinals pitchers who had success under Duncan that they didn’t necessarily have before or after (even if that success was only for a season or two): Kent Bottenfield, Matt Morris, Woody Williams, Jeff Suppan, Jason Marquis, Ryan Franklin, Kyle Lohse … the list could definitely go on. Continue reading

Lynn And Co. Can’t Quiet The Crew

Apparently, the Brewers did their homework since the last time they faced the Cardinals. Of course, things have changed quite a bit for the Redbirds since then, too.

One inningLance “First Half” Lynn is tending toward the late-season struggles we hoped were a thing of the past. Jake Westbrook can’t seem to hold it together. Michael Wacha hasn’t been the rotation savior we’d hoped for. Neither has Carlos Martinez. Even Shelby Miller has shown signs of vulnerability after taking that line drive off his elbow a few weeks back.

And, the Brewers are the least of this rotation’s concerns over the next few weeks.

Last night, many will argue, was not really Lynn’s fault. A litany of innocent singles and a few less-than-stellar defensive plays quickly turned a 3-0 Cardinals lead into a 5-3 hole.

But, he had good stuff! They were only singles! Twice a double play could have/should have/would have been made if that slouch David Freese wasn’t manning third! Continue reading