Ben Frederickson Live

Bring your Cardinals, Blues, Mizzou and STL sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.




    Greetings, chatters. Thanks for jumping in. Here's the schedule for today. We are going to go all-in until 1 p.m. then take a quick break while I film this week's Inside Pitch video with Jeff Gordon, then we will resume and go full-speed until the clubhouse opens at Busch Stadium. Sound good? Let's roll.
    I'm not overly worried about a bad weekend series in Pittsburgh, and as much as I want to dissect the first month to find out what needs to be fixed, I don't see glaring "holes" as much as I see that our cornerstones like Fowler, Carp, Wong, and Ozuna to an extent, need to advance to within arms distance of their means. Is it that simple?
    I agree that examining the first month is smarter than over-analyzing a dud of a series in Pittsburgh, though a sweep by a division opponent is not what you want to see from a team that struggled mightily against the NL Central last year.
    Here's what I see. I'm impressed the Cardinals have a 15-12 record, considering the circumstances. And yes, I know they got fat on the Reds.
    Three of the top-four hitters they have hinged their lineup on -- Carpenter, Fowler and Ozuna -- are on pace for their career worst OPS through the first month of games. The new-look bullpen has potential, but it has been disrupted by injuries and the Greg Holland Issue.
    It has been a frustrating start, but they're 15-12. That's either fools gold or a nice bit of luck, and a sign things could get better, much better, if some important pieces come on line soon.
    Don't overlook that the Cubs are starting to trend.
     
     
    Ben, do you think STL gets an NBA franchise before Jayson Tatum retires?
    Doubtful. I've wondered if STL would be a good fit for a G-League team, especially if more talented players are going to skip college to go that route for $ purposes. I would much rather have a G-League team than the XFL.
    I think Pittsburgh was a total flush series as in just forget about it and move on. That being said I think winning these two games vs CWS with Wacha/Martinez are crucial if we want to claim PIT was a fluke.
    Could be. We'll see. Have to see how they respond first.
    Even though the Cardinals were on the road when the shooting took place at Ballpark Village, have you heard of additional security measures being talked about? I would hate to think that we would have bag checks and metal detectors there. Would create a big mess and really keep people away IMHO.
  • Per Bill DeWitt III, all security options are being reviewed and, yes, one of those options would be installing metal detectors at BPV. Fans should expect to see heightened security presence this weekend as well. 
     
    I disagree with you when it comes to the nuisance factor of metal detectors at BPV. I think a minute or two of hassle would be worth the chance of preventing the senseless loss of life of a father. I don't blame BPV for what happened, but I do think they should react in a way that shows they are prioritizing the safety of everyone who goes there. Fans go through metal detectors before baseball games. It's expected. Rarely is it a nuisance, and when it is there is a problem that is addressed as a result.
     
    If I had to pick which is more likely to keep people away, I would rank perceived non-reaction to a fatal shooting ahead of metal-detector hassle.
     
  • Which of the STL post writers is the smoothest dresser.
  •  The Commish, and I'm afraid it's not even close.
    Bryan Burwell brought it in writing and fashion. He's missed for both.
  • Hello everyone , I would like to say there are some coaching moves that need to be made Many out ,McGee in as hitting coach . What are your thoughts, Mary wasn't a very good hitter to me so how can he coach hitting McGee can hit and I believe he's a good teacher
  • The longer three pillars of the Cardinals offense -- Carpenter, Fowler, Ozuna -- struggle, the more heat from the public hitting coach John Mabry will receive. A change to that position after the first month of the season would be a surprise, and another clear message sent to manager Mike Matheny, who is close with Mabry, one of the few coaches who have not turned over since the front office started a churn during last year's disappointing season. Willie McGee is not cut out of hitting discussions, for what it's worth. He helps in any way he sees help can be offered.
  • The Cardinals have boasted about their depth for a while, and I agree that they do have nice depth, particularly pitching and outfield. Yet they have players at the major league level that are performing terribly, and the depth is underutilized (I realize that some relievers have gotten a brief look, but then they get sent down while others who have not pitched nearly as well stay on the big club). Having depth at Memphis is nice but doesn't do us that much good while it is still at Memphis. If everyone at the major league level was on fire I could see it, but that clearly is not the case.
  • The Cardinals are wrestling with the back-and-forth that comes naturally when you have early-season struggles from players who were aligned for key roles.
    Your worst-performing hitters, and they as of today are some of the worst-performing hitters in baseball, period, are supposed to be some of your best hitters: Carpenter, Fowler, Ozuna.
    Your big closer addition, Holland, has struggled mightily and some other key pieces of the bullpen (Gregerson, Cecil for example) are not yet right either.
    It's going to take longer than a month for the Cardinals to fold on these bets. Because while they might get improved performances from the Memphis call-ups for a period of time, that would not carry them through a 162-game season.
    That said ...
    As it is hard to imagine all of these guys having career-worst seasons in the same year, it is hard to imagine every single one of them bouncing back to have good or great years. Finding out which bets are untenable is the challenge, and the contract$ encourage more time before cutting losses or drastically changing roles.
  • How long of a leash does Matheny have this season? How would you shake up this team? Trades? Manager? Bringing up the youth? Thanks for the chat!
  • I would make no drastic changes after a 15-12 first month.
    I would consider batting Fowler and Carpenter lower in the order until they get something going.
    I would plant Norris in the closer role and find lower-leverage spots for Holland to gain traction. I would tell Norris the job is his until he loses it, and tell Holland to go earn it back.
    Those would be my moves at this point.
     
     
  • After Cuonzo and Mizzou missed out on Ramey and then Hinson in quick succession last weekend, is there anyone else out there the Tigers are targeting to fill the last scholarship spot (assuming Jontay is as good as gone now that he's being projected as a fringe first-rounder)?
  • There's always someone else. And the Tigers could have two scholarships to work with. There is at least a chance Cullen VanLeer could be moved to a medical scholarship, which keeps him on scholarship but frees up a scholarship spot. I've said since he declared that I would not bet on Jontay Porter coming back, and there was a report this week that he indeed plans to remain in the draft. We'll see. I would not expect his father to be back on the coaching staff if he leaves, either. So, in addition to looking for more recruits, Martin might be looking for a new assistant coach.
  • From September 2015 (when the Cardinals staggered to the Division title) until the present the best description that I can come up with is "Lifeless", both tactically and effort. Most of the roster and coaching staff has turned over in this time. At some point upper management can no longer look past Matheny, right??
  • Coaching staff has been refreshed. Roster has been refreshed. At some point the word in front of refresh hits manager, yes. This is a significant year for the future of Mike Matheny, Cardinals manager. That's been the case all along.
  • If the Cards fail to make the playoffs, would MGT give Stubby Clapp a chance to be the Manager in 2019?
  • Perhaps. He has ushered in an era of winning that Class AAA Memphis has never seen before. He has meaningful relationships with many of the players on the big club. But, the Cardinals should not focus only on internal options if they are making a hire. And they should get a strong list of interested candidates. They're the Cardinals. Stubby continues to set himself up to become an appealing candidate for MLB managerial gigs, here or elsewhere.
  • If Carpenter keeps going the way he is, would a DL stint be in the near future?
  • Mozeliak doesn't do fake DL assignments. He's involved with the rules on how that works, so he makes a point not to abuse it like some teams. Some would call that a competitive disadvantage. He sees it differently, and I respect him for that. Carpenter's health has come up often in chat questions, and it's a fair one. I see what you see in those concerning throws from third base. Now that Gyorko is back, it's going to be harder to justify Carpenter spending time at third, especially when he's struggling so much at the plate. Clearly, the arm strength is not there in terms of his throws. Connecting this to his offense is a bit more dot-connecting. Carpenter's hitting the ball hard when he hits it, according to the eye test and data that tracks such things. He's just hitting into outs, often against the shift. If those hits were falling, we probably aren't spending much time talking about Carpenter's throws. Kind of like Jose Martinez's defense is more accepted, right?  Now, is Carpenter injured? He has not said that. He's continuing to make starts. If the Cardinals had proof he was injured, wouldn't it make sense to shut him down for a bit? Have to have proof first. Clearly, he's limited in some ways. Clearly, he's determined to play through that.
  • Why can't the Cards beat a guy making his ML debut. This has been going on since at least Tim Wakefield's first start for the Pirates.
  • It's become this weird trend, and I don't get it either. Sometimes a new guy surprises you. Seems like every guy surprises the Cardinals. Nick Kingham didn't match the film the Cardinals watched. OK. He was out there for seven innings or real baseball after that, and the adjustments didn't seem to come. It makes one wonder if the Cardinal should scrap intense film study before they face first-timers. Clearly, what they have been doing is not working. Just wonder if it would be better to go live. That's what DeJong did, and he was the one who spoiled the perfect game. There's a stat that is worth looking up on the Cardinals vs. first-time major league pitchers. I'll try to  dig it up.
  • So when is this piece coming about SLU basketball we were promised following the conclusion of the TItle IX investigation? Radio silence since the conclusion.
  • Radio silence is a good way to phrase it. At one point I had an interview arranged with one of the former players and his family. Scheduled. Set. Ready to go. Never happened.
    Time came and no response. Reached back out and no response. Every player who defected has declined to discuss. Incident report remains unavailable to the press. You can't write what isn't there. Facts are needed instead of more opinion. I'm sure many think it will just go away, and work to make that happen. Easier said than done. Appreciate you asking and apologize there is not more to tell at this time.
  • I may be a bit late, but, hi Ben!
  • Ben...thanks as always for your chat. Also enjoyed you and Mr Goold’s recent podcast. Totally agreed with your Yadi comments as personality of the team, he has been a lot of fun to watch this year. For whatever reason, I appreciate him more this year than almost any in what I think is a Hall of Fame career.

    Also commented on these chats previously critical about Pham’s presentation of thoughts (not substance/presentation), but his rusty nail status is growing on me. Maybe it’s performance driven, but I dig it. Is he the new Lance Lynn for this crew?
  • Thanks. It's always nice of DG to let me pinch-hit on the pod. Glad you enjoyed it. Good thing I raved about Yadi before he went on his 1-for-19 skid. (Perhaps a game off now and again might help?) As for Pham, he's not the new anyone. He's just Pham. And other than two errors and a one-hit series against the Pirates -- a rare bad series -- he is playing better than he did last season. That will continue to make him a prominent, albeit unvarnished, voice of this club.
  • Did you see that catch that Grichuk made the other day? Hurt his knee, but I bet he could not do that again in a million years! (partially because he would be dead in a million years) Maybe a trip to the DL will help him get his mind right and relearn how to hit.
  • His defense has been a highlight of his time in Toronto. The only highlight, so far.
  • HEY, GracetheCarpetLintGirl is stealing my act, can you ban her please?
  • Just figured you two were related.
  • Would do you see Reyes role when he comes back? Long reliever? setup guy? Somebody who will make spot starts to give a starter a breather?
  • The Cardinals are being coy about this one. I think he is going to pitch like a starter, even if it's piggybacking out of the bullpen. Here's why: Mozeliak has said he wants Reyes to reach 100-120 innings before October. That's a lot of innings for a role we traditionally view as "reliever." Even when you factor in that some of those innings will come during his ramp-up in the minor leagues.
  • Of the stories that you've written in your career, which required the most difficult fact-gathering?
  • Going door-to-door interviewing neighbors and police after a dead newborn was thrown into a dumpster in a Las Vegas housing project was not easy. That was during an internship at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Makes sports seem rather trivial at times.
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