Dave Duncan has a lot on his mind

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We’ve touched on this before, but in case you were unaware, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan missed a lot of time late in the season to be with his wife who underwent brain surgery for a tumor. Dave has been back for the playoffs, largely because his wife Jeanine’s insistence that he do so.

Today Mike Lopresti of USA Today has a story on all of that, including an interview with Dave and Jeanine’s son (and former major leaguer) Chris Duncan, who talks about how Dave is trying to balance baseball and family, and how each of them give him strength.

Duncan may very well be the best pitching coach of all time. But there has likely been no flaky lefty or over-powered, control-deficient righty who has posed the sort of challenge he and his family now face.  Good luck to him.

José Ureña drills Ronald Acuña, Marlins’ and Braves’ benches clear

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Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña has been on a tear lately, homering in five consecutive games and in seven of his last eight. His last three games, all against the Marlins, have featured a leadoff home run.

Understandably, Marlins starter José Ureña was not eager to face Acuña leading off Wednesday night’s game. However, Ureña got around facing Acuña by drilling him in the left elbow with a first-pitch, 97.5 MPH fastball. The benches emptied. No punches were thrown, but there was a lot of yelling.

Braves manager Brian Snitker was thrown out after yelling at the umpires because Ureña was not immediately ejected. The umpires conferred and later decided to eject him before play resumed. They then issued warnings to both teams.

Ureña will almost certainly be fined and suspended by Major League Baseball. And he should be.