What has 2 thumbs and owes Chris Duncan an apology? This guy. It seemed at the beginning of this season that the Coach's Son was destined to be a flash in the pan. Last year, he started his career like a house afire, but cooled down considerably by the end of the season. Throw in his suspect defense, and you had a spot starter/sometime pinch hitter for the Cardinals' glorious championship run.
Then, in the opening-series sweep at the hands of the Metropolitans, Duncan looked like more of the same. He couldn't catch up to the high heat, and he couldn't hit a top-notch curve. But then, it turned out he was just giving in to peer pressure by stinking up the joint in the first 3 games.
Duncan has regained top form thus far in the young season. He is hitting .412, including a 4-for-5 performance in today's 10-2 shellacking of the Beer Men. The man belongs.
Why write about Duncan instead of Albert Pujols' 2 homers today that appear to have broken him him out of his early-season slump? Because there was never any doubt that Albert would break out. It was just a question of when and how.
The other extremely encouraging thing about today's game was another solid outing from Braden Looper, holding Milwaukee scoreless after giving up 2 in the first. With ace Chris Carpenter on the DL for awhile, the rotation has thus far stepped up and looked absolutely great. The Cards must continue to get this kind of performance from the other 4 starting pitchers to stay in contention until Carp gets back. In fact, up to this point, when the Cards have lost it has been due far more to anemic offense than to pitching. Further proof that Chris Duncan's dad, pitching coach Dave Duncan, is a genius.
And, finally, Jackie Robinson Day was a huge success. Don't let anyone tell you it was corny. It was a great tribute to a great man. Seeing all the Cardinals (and several other teams, including, of course, the Dodgers) wearing number 42 was one of the coolest pictures in awhile.