Tony La Russa has to stop it with putting Chris Duncan in the starting lineup. I have watched Tony this season punch the right buttons night after night but tonight is the reason you don't have Chris Duncan in the starting lineup in what is arguably your biggest series of the season.
Duncan single handedly was the rally killer in Game One of this series. In the first inning after the Troy Glaus 2 RBI double he stranded Glaus on second with a ground out. In the third with a runner on second he popped up to the pitcher. Finally in the 8th he had a runner on first with the Cardinals down a run and he harmlessly popped out to short left. It is not like he had a little bad luck tonight on his at bats. He was overmatched. He is no longer a threat at the plate. As much as the Cardinals want and need him to be the player he was in 2006 he just isn't good enough to start over Ryan Ludwick.
The numbers don't even give Tony something to hang his hat on in this debate. Against lefthanders
Ludwick: .252 10 HR 25 RBI
Duncan: .147 1 HR 4 RBI
Ludwick .318 12 HR 43 RBI
Duncan .270 5 HR 23 RBI
Ludwick .333 6 HR 12 RBI
Duncan .324 1 HR 6 RBI
Every number tells you that Ludwick needs to start every night the rest of the way out. In addition Duncan almost butchered another ball in left when he had to make a basket catch. An average to above average fielder would have made that catch easy and not make it an adventure.
If this team is serious about making the playoffs then they have to put out their best players on a nightly basis. That means that Ludwick has to play every night and Duncan has to come off the bench to pinch hit. That is where the success of this team is going to lie the rest of the season.