September 15, 2011
On three consecutive batters Wednesday night, Duncan made a difficult leaping catch against the fence at nearly the same spot in left field. He robbed Elvis Andrus(notes) and Josh Hamilton(notes) to end the first inning, and did likewise to Michael Young(notes) leading off the second for Texas. All of the grabs happened in front of the out-of-town scoreboard at Rangers Ballpark.
Outfielders have made at least three straight putouts before, numerous times, no doubt. And someone in history has made three really difficult catches in a row. But has anyone ever made three straight catches in nearly the same spot that all looked the same?
Watch for the look on Duncan's face before he lets out a, "You gotta be kidding me!":
And that's a gracious smile on Young's face. Unless it's a grimace.
The best part of the Young catch was Indians announcer Matt Underwood saying there was no way Duncan could reach it.
The first catch is less like the other two; against Andrus, Duncan turned to his right and grabbed a link in the fence to keep himself standing. On the fly balls hit by Hamilton and Young, he ended up on his rear — but with the ball in his glove. And, every time, we can see what the Washington Nationals and New York Mets are up to, along with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.
Shelley is known more for his ability to hit a ball out of the park than for his fielding. A brother of former major leaguer Chris Duncan(notes) and a son of longtime Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, Shelley is listed at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds — not necessarily an ideal build for an outfielder.
But he's never made an error out there. His zone ratings range from bad to pretty good. And now he's got great video evidence for his résumé. He even made another nice catch — this one sliding feet first — on a sinking liner by David Murphy(notes). Basing an evaluation on this game alone, I think we can say the guy is a capable fielder.
One more note: Later in the game, Hamilton hit a grand slam to left field, for which Duncan made another leaping try near the same spot as his catches. What was going on out there?
He got nowhere near the ball this time, but it would have been an amazing grab. And amazingly strange. (Hey, the Cubs are trailing.)
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