Game Notes: Brewers 5, Cards 4, 8/07/09 - The Bad, the Worse, and the Ugly

-- All that goodwill Todd Wellemeyer managed to build up after that last start, all that hopeful chatter that he's really starting to turn it around, that he looks like he's finally figured something out, took exactly four innings to lose. You could actually see it leaking away; hope and sweat dripping in equal measure off the brim of the Colonel's hat. 

I don't really like to say I told you so, but I so totally did tell you so. The pattern has finished repeating itself. Suck, then good start, then talk of a mechanical flaw or some such thing, optimism, suck again. It would be monotonous if it weren't so frustrating. 

-- Chris Duncan has got to go. I don't care if he's the son of the pitching coach. I don't care if he's the godson of the manager. I wouldn't care if his last name was, "Of Nazareth." Duncan is killing this team. 

click to enlarge Pumpkins. 
Look, I understood the logic in moving Dunc to the outfield. I really did. Didn't keep me from hating the idea as soon as I saw him try to catch a pop fly, but I understood why the Cardinals were doing it. You can take a guy with a big bat and hide him in left field; teams have been doing it for centuries. There are records of a game of rounders from 1564 in which a Mr. Christon of Duncanshire was told to play, "out far afield, as sinister of the Cheswick swail as can be walked by dawn, and deepest of living men." Hey, if Manny Ramirez and Adam Dunn can manage to play left and not kill their teams with a constant stream of Bad News Bears play, Duncan should certainly be able to. 

The problem is Duncan isn't the kind of bat to justify sticking him out in left. For all the talk of how well he's come back from the neck surgery, and how his bat will continue to get better, Chris Duncan currently sports an OPS+ of 91. Worse than league average. Combine that with still craptastic defense which doesn't look to ever get better, and you've got a player whose only real contribution to posterity is some really awesome photos of him humping things

What's even more disheartening is the fact Duncan has actually been getting worse, not better. That story, that he was going to get stronger and better further away from surgery, isn't even remotely true. On the 1st of May, Duncan had an OPS of 1.021. Since then, it's .592. He slugged nearly .600 for the first month of the season, and has slugged under .300 ever since. I don't know if he needs some DL time to rest, some minor league time to work on his stroke, or just some time to start considering his next choice of careers, but Chris Duncan desperately needs to be somewhere other than St. Louis right now. 

-- And yes, I realize Duncan did do a nice job of drawing a walk in the ninth inning off Trevor Hoffman. It was a very nice plate appearance, and he should be commended for it. Of course, it he hadn't let a simple groundball roll all the way to the wall, the Cardinals would have been, at worst, tied at that point, and Hoffman probably wouldn't have been the game. So, you know. 

-- Tony La Russa looked pissed last night after the game, and for once, I can't really blame him. I know I disagree with the way he handles business a lot of the time, but I've never questioned La Russa's passion for the game, or his commitment to winning. Seeing a game like last night's, featuring Wellemeyer crapping the bed and the rest of the team just playing sloppy, weak baseball has got to be killing him. 

-- That's two walks in three games for Colby Rasmus. Honestly, I'm a little frightened. 

-- I am soooo tired of losing to Jeff Fucking Suppan I could puke. Even with the Cards roughing him up a bit last night, they still couldn't put him away. Against the rest of the league, Suppan has turned into a basically replacement-level pitcher; against the Cardinals, on the other hand, the guy simply can't lose. It's enough to make a man question the point of life, it is. 

What's really terrifying is how consistently Suppan is able to get out Albert Pujols this year. Against Jeff Suppan in 2009, Albert is hitting .143/.125/.143. That's an OPS of .268. I don't know what Soup is doing, whether he has some sort of voodoo doll or if he's decided stem cells are okay for just this one specific time and shoots them up before Pujols at-bats, Bane style, but let's just hope the rest of the league never figures out how he's doing it. 
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