photo: Chris and Dave Duncan (Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)
The St. Louis Cardinals have extended their lead in the NL Central to 4.5 games by taking series over the Giants and Pirates. Our weekly history feature looks back at the career of late Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan.
The Cardinals began a four game series with the Giants at Busch Stadium on Labor Day and were the winners in game one 3-1. Starter Adam Wainwright pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed four hits and struck out one to earn his 10th win. Giovanny Gallegos, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Martinez combined to pitch the eighth. Gallegos surrendered the lone Giants runs. Martinez returned to toss a scoreless ninth to earn his 17th save.
St. Louis’ offense put up two runs in the first inning on a Kolten Wong triple and a ground out by Paul Goldschmidt. A Paul DeJong single in the third plated the third run. No Cardinal had more than one hit.
Tommy Edman and Edmundo Sosa each stole a base.
The Cardinals were the victors in a low scoring pitchers’ duel on Tuesday. Starter Jack Flaherty was masterful, pitching eighth scoreless, one hit innings, fanning eight and walking one. Carlos Martinez tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his 18th save.
The Cardinals lone run came on a solo home run by Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna went 2-for-3 and was the only Cardinal with multiple hits.
The Cardinals lost a hard fought third game in the series with the Giants. This game had big innings and multiple lead changes. The offense put up eight runs on 13 hits which ordinarily would be enough to win, but not in this case. St. Louis put up the first run of the game on a single by Dexter Fowler in the third inning. In the fourth, Paul DeJong hit a solo home run, and in the fifth, Paul Goldschmidt tripled to plate a run. The Cardinals put up four runs in the sixth on a Tommy Edman triple, a Harrison Bader sac fly, and a Goldschmidt double. Goldschmidt, Edman, and Kolten Wong were each 2-for-4. DeJong was 2-for-5.
The pitching in this game was a bullpen game. Michael Wacha pitched two scoreless innings on short rest to start. Wacha allowed two hits, struck out two and walked one. Tyler Webb surrendered four runs in the third and was removed with one out and replaced by Ryan Helsley. Helsley tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Dominic Leone allowed three unearned runs in the sixth. John Gant pitched 2/3 scoreless innings, while Andrew Miller gave up one run in 2/3 innings. Giovanny Gallegos pitched the final 1 2/3 innings and gave up one run. Gallegos took the loss.
Wong stole his 20th base of the season. In the field, Paul DeJong made a throwing error.
The final game of the four game series was vastly different than the game the previous night. The Cardinals shellacked Giants 10-0 behind six scoreless innings of pitching from starter Dakota Hudson. Hudson allowed only one hit, struck out two and walked two. Genesis Cabrera finished the game with three scoreless innings of relief. Hudson earned his 15th win.
The scoring by the offense began with an RBI single by Paul Goldschmidt followed by a two run home run from Paul DeJong. The Cardinals put up five runs in the third inning on singles by Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, and Hudson, and one run on a fielding error. Finally, Rangel Ravelo hit a two run home run in the eighth. Goldschmidt and Carpenter were each 2-for-3.
Randy Arozarena stole the first base of his MLB career.
The Cardinals suffered another tough loss in the first game of a three game series against the Pirates at Busch Stadium. The team took the lead in the game in the second inning on a two run home run by Tommy Edman. They increased their lead with two more runs in the seventh with a second home run by Edman, a solo shot, and a Matt Carpenter double. Edman went 2-for 4 in the game.
The wheels came off the bus in bottom of the seventh on a meltdown by the Cardinal bullpen. Miles Mikolas had started the game and pitched five innings with one run allowed. Mikolas gave up three hits, struck out seven, and walked four. Tyler Webb pitched a scoreless sixth. Then seventh came, and three Cardinal relievers, John Gant, Andrew Miller, and John Brebbia combined to give up six runs in that inning. Two runs were charged to Gant, three runs to Miller, and one run to Brebbia. Mike Mayers added to the pitching woes by giving up two runs in the eighth. Miller was charged with the loss.
The Cardinals played much better in the second game of the series, pummeling the Pirates by the score of 10-1. The offense put up four runs in the third inning to begin the scoring. Dexter Fowler plated a run on a single and Marcell Ozuna blasted a three run home run. St. Louis added on with two runs in the sixth on singles by Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader. In the seventh, Paul DeJong doubled to score two more. A double by Harrison Bader and a ground out by Rangel Ravelo brought the final two runs home in the ninth. Kolten Wong went 2-for-5. Bader and Adam Wainwright were 2-for-4.
Starter Wainwright pitched seven innings and gave up one run on six hits. The right hander struck out three and walked one. Junior Fernandez and Daniel Ponce de Leon each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
On the base paths, DeJong stole his seventh base, and Bader stole his eighth base. In the field, Dexter Fowler had an outfield assist at second base.
In the final game of the series the Cardinals blanked the Pirates 2-0. Starter Jack Flaherty continued to shine on the mound, following up his eight scoreless innings earlier in the week with eight more scoreless innings in this game. Flaherty allowed five hits, fanned 10 and walked one. Carlos Martinez pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 19th save. Flaherty earned his 10th win.
The Cardinals scored their two runs on a single by Harrison Bader in the fifth, and a double by Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth.
In the field, Flaherty picked a runner off first base.
The Big Picture
The Cardinals finished the week with a record of 5-2, having taken 3 of 4 from the Giants, and 2 of 3 from the Pirates. The team stands at 81-62 and are in first place in the NL Central, 4.5 games up on the Chicago Cubs.
The Cardinals continue to play good baseball on both sides of the ball. Starting pitching has been good. The bullpen has had a couple of shaky outings, more specifically Tyler Webb in Wednesday’s game against the Giants, and John Gant, Andrew Miller, and John Brebbia in Friday’s game with the Pirates. Other than those two games, the bullpen has been fine.
The offense continues to roll, though a couple of games during the week were won with little offense. Paul Goldschmidt, Kolten Wong, Tommy Edman and Matt Carpenter hit well during the week. Paul DeJong improved from the prior week. Harrison Bader cooled off slightly earlier in the week but picked it up over the weekend. Yadier Molina and Dexter Fowler also have cooled off a little bit. Marcell Ozuna had been struggling but came through with two home runs during the week.
The defense and base running continue to be a plus. Paul DeJong made a couple of errors on the infield, one of which contributed to the late loss against the Giants on Wednesday, DeJong failed to make a routine play, inexplicably changing his mind on which base to throw to, which resulted in no out on the play. Had the play been made it would have resulted in the third out. The error led to a three run home run by Brandon Crawford, the batter following the error. DeJong has been a reliable defender, so the errors were hopefully just a blip on the radar.
The Cardinals go to Colorado this coming week to play a three game series in Coors Field against the Rockies. The Cardinals return home to play the final series with the Brewers. The team needs to take both series to cement their lead over the Cubs.
NL Central Standings
Former Cardinal Chris Duncan passes away at the age of 38
Cardinal Nation received very sad news on Friday night during the game with the Pirates. Fox Sports Midwest broadcaster Dan McLaughlin broke the news to Cardinals fans that former Cardinal and St. Louis radio host Chris Duncan had passed away. The announcement was made by McLaughlin during the broadcast of the game.
Duncan, 38, was the son of former Cardinal pitching coach Dave Duncan, and played for the Cardinals for five seasons. He was a first round draft pick by the Cardinals in the 1999 June Draft, and made his major league debut on September 10, 2005.
Duncan had been battling Glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer, for several years. His mother, Jeanine, died of the disease in 2013. Duncan was diagnosed with the cancer in 2012 but the cancer was found early and he underwent surgery and chemotherapy.
Duncan had been working on 101 ESPN radio in St. Louis doing “The Fast Lane” with Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr and also a show called “The Turn” with Anthony Stalter. Duncan announced in 2018 that the tumor had returned, and in January 2019 Duncan told radio followers that he was leaving 101 ESPN and returning to Arizona where his family resided to continue his fight with the cancer.
Duncan is survived by wife Amy, father Dave Duncan, and brother Shelley Duncan.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 9/2 The Cardinals recalled SS Edmundo Sosa from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 9/3 The Cardinals recalled OF Randy Arozarena from the Memphis Redbirds.
- LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback. He will not return to the roster this season.
- RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out for the rest of the season.
- LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season. Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
- OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10 day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60 day injured list on September 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson. Thomas is out for the season.
- C Matt Wieters (left calf) suffered a mild calf strain running the bases in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday, August 31. Wieters is considered day to day. The catcher did some running on the field on September 6.
The Cardinals have a travel day on Monday, September 9, then begin a three game series in Denver with the Rockies on Tuesday September 10. Michael Wacha is scheduled to make the start on Tuesday, followed by Dakota Hudson on Wednesday and Miles Mikolas on Thursday.
The team returns home for a weekend series again with the Brewers, the last between the clubs in the regular season. No pitchers have been announced but will likely be Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, and Michael Wacha.
On September 16 the Nationals come to Busch Stadium for a three game series. The Cardinals then travel to Chicago to play the Cubs in a crucial four game series beginning Sept. 19.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be viewed here.
Blast from the Past
This week’s Blast from the Past briefly looks at the Cardinals career of Chris Duncan, who passed away last week at the age of 38 from brain cancer.
Chris Duncan was the son of former Cardinal pitching coach Dave Duncan. His brother Shelley Duncan was a pitcher with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays in a career that spanned seven major league seasons.
Duncan was drafted by the Cardinals in the 1999 June Draft in the first round. He was the 46th pick, a compensation pick for the loss of Delino DeShields to free agency. He debuted with the Cardinals on September 10, 2005. Duncan played both first base and in the outfield throughout his five seasons with the Cardinals. During those five seasons he posted a slash line of .257/.348/.458 with 55 home runs and 175 RBI. His first major league home run on October 2, 2005 was the last home run hit in Busch Stadium II. In his first full season in 2006 Duncan hit .293/.363/.589 with 22 home runs and was a contributor to the Cardinals World Series Championship that year. That 2006 season was Duncan’s best season as a Cardinal. Duncan hit 21 home runs and had a career high 70 RBI in 2007.
Duncan suffered an injury riddled 2008 and had season ending neck surgery in July of that year. He returned to the Cardinals in 2009 but hit only .227 with five home runs and 32 RBI in 304 plate appearances. On July 22, 2009 Duncan was optioned to Triple-A then traded to the Boston Red Sox the next day. Duncan was immediately optioned to Boston’s Triple-A affiliate and was released a month later after hitting only .188 with two home runs and 10 RBI. Duncan signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals in January 2010 but was never called up to the major league team. Duncan left baseball after the 2010 season.
Duncan then signed on with ESPN radio in October of 2011, where he remained until leaving in January 2019 to return to Tucson to be with his family. He passed away from brain cancer on September 6, 2019. His wife Amy, father Dave, and brother Shelley survive.
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