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St. Louis Cardinals, Without Dave Duncan, Find Themselves Short Of Jake Westbrook Insurance

The good thing about being a St. Louis Cardinals fan, since 1996, has been that whenever the Cardinals' rotation finds itself short of actual starting pitchers, we've been able to just assume Dave Duncan will do something about it. No more: He's resigned for family reasons, leaving the Cardinals without their junkball-mechanic-in-chief.

This is bad news for a lot of reasons, given his incredible run of junkballer success, but the most immediate problem is Jake Westbrook, whose primary attribute—his ability to pitch for groundball-heavy contact—was a classic Dave Duncan virtue, and whose poor 2011 made him the primary Ridiculous Duncan Bounceback candidate.

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With one year left on his deal the Cardinals seem likely to stick with Westbrook for the duration—at least they seem likely not to replace him from outside the organization prior to Opening Day. But without Duncan his sudden revival seems depressingly less likely than it did a few weeks ago. Here's hoping new pitching coach Derek Lilliquist is also a wizard.