Ben Frederickson Live

Ben Frederickson Live

Bring your Cardinals, Blues and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at Noon on Tuesday.




    Hello all. Thanks for being flexible with today’s delay. We are about to take off — delayed of course — from San Jose. I’ll be switching to the laptop as soon as I can get it out. We’ve got three hours and change here. Thanks for keeping me company. Let’s roll.
    Does San Jose seem to get help in winning playoff series? Questionable Major penalty helped them in first round. Another penalty against Avalanche and then scoring in overtime shorthanded.
    NHL officials are often bad, but I don’t think they are in the tank, get it, for the Sharks. The league seems to have fallen in love with the win-one-for-Thornton story line, but I don’t think the officials are showing that they have. Yes, San Jose got a fortunate call against Vegas. But the penalties the Blues have taken are pretty tough to complain about in terms of officiating. The Blues just need to be smarter, and in the second game they were. Physicality is great. But not when it spreads you too thin and exploits your defense.
    Ben, What would you do to improve the power play. IMO players who are smoother with the puck, more decisive with the puck are needed on both units. Add Dunn and Thomas.
    Sign me up for more Robert Thomas on the PP. Less Petro probably also a good idea. He was brutal in Game 2. Craig Berube has a conference call this morning and kind of pushed back against the call for more Thomas, but hopefully that had more to do with not giving away strategy than anything else. The Blues’ PP percentage is abysmal and even worse they are not getting shots. No, the worst is their inability to keep their power play from turning into great short handed shots for the other team. They’ve been outscored on their own PP in the past eight games. Brutal. Gotta do something to shake things up before Game 3
    Has the blues success over the past few weeks taken away a bit of heat on the poor play of the cardinals?
    Based on the questions in the pending line in this chat, no. Blues are tied in the Western Conference Finals and there are 10 Cards questions to every Blues query. The Cardinals are never out of the spotlight.
    When the Blues gave up 2 quick goals it seemed like they were on their way to losing. Then Bortuzzo scored. Is this one of the most resilient Blues teams ever?
    It has to be, yes. Jaden Schwartz leads the team in postseason goals after a miserable series. Guys like Bortuzzo, Sundqvist, Dunn and others are grabbing massive moments and making the most out of them. The Blues are here, tied and headed for home ice, and some of their most proven guys this season — specifically O’Reilly and Tarasenko — are minus players through the postseason. The depth is a weapon, and it’s sharp.
    So take some of the Cardinals questions, the point of this chat is accountability!
    Oh, we will. We will. Forgive me for focusing first on the team in the final four
    We all know how these playoffs will end: Blues fans cheering as the Stanley Cup is finally hoisted … by David Backes. Because while God might not have a favorite team, we all know his 31st favorite team.
    Savage. I’ll just say I would love to see Blues and Bruins. And I would encourage the Blues to make sure no one is filming their practices if it happens.
    i noticed for the last power play the blues had last night they used two defensemen (parayko and petro) rather than the usual 4 forwards. they didn't score, but at least they didn't give up any odd-man rushes!
    It was obvious by the end of the game that the power play had turned into a mental block as much as anything. Blues players looked nervous, even scared, out there while on it. Afraid to make a mistake. And the Sharks were the opposite. Drooling with anticipation. Taking a more defense-first approach to it made a lot of sense, as embarrassing as it was. Of course, that’s not something that should happen moving forward — unless the Blues are just content to treat their power play like a penalty kill. That’s bad, but it’s better than doing the same thing and hoping for different results. I’m really interested to see what Berube and his staff come up with for Game 3.
    What was your prediction for the series and after two games how do you feel about it?
    Before Bortuzzo's goal I thought the Sharks had their number but then I was wondering why isn't anybody calling? Now I think the Sharks are headed for a breakdown, they better be careful not to show it.
    Don’t bank on the Sharks crumbling. They have lost every Game 2 so far this postseason, then won each round. They’re too good to all apart — unless goalie Martin Jones cracks. Remember he got pulled twice through the first two games of the first round. He’s the most beatable goalie the Blues have faced in the postseason to
    this point. The Blues are discovering he’s vulnerable if they shoot high. They can beat him, but will likely need their stars to contribute to the attack to make it happen. I thought Tarasenko was much, much better in Game 2. Still not much to show for it though. 
  • OK, got the laptop up and running so should be faster now. I realized I accidentally skipped answering the question about my pre-series prediction and what I think since making it. Here goes: I picked the Blues in six games. I fear now that it will take seven -- if they win. The Sharks, to me, look like the better team through two games. If the Blues can find some spark for their power play, it won't look like such a tough hill to climb. They have the better goalie, that's for sure.
  • Everyone before game 2 was saying "gotta get Tarasenko going if you want to win". He looked better in than game 1, but isn't the real key to have contributions from a number of players? The Blues defensive style succeeds more with team effort rather than individual skill
    Some important differences here. I said they need to get Tarasenko going if they want to win, as in win this series. And the argument was not, get Tarasenko going and let everyone else go to rubbish. Yes, it  takes a team. And yes, it almost always takes the team's top scorer scoring to get where  you want to go. That's true in any sport. It speaks to the Blues' depth that they have gotten this far with an up-and-down performance from Tarasenko. And to his credit, he looked A LOT better in Game 2. Way more active. Created for teammates. Worked hard without the puck, which is EXACTLY what Craig Berube challenged him to do. Now he just has to put the puck in the net.
    Ben, I read in the PD that Berube wanted to shorten the passes that were being made when coming out of the zone. In last nights game there wasn't a change that I noticed. Still some long passes that the Sharks are jumping.
    Correct. The Blues need to continue to make that an emphasis, because the Sharks are taking advantage. The Sharks pass stick to stick -- pow, pow, pow. The Blues by comparison are leaving too many rushed passes up for grabs. Give some credits to the Sharks for that. They have the Blues gripping the sticks quite a bit, especially (and oddly enough) on the power play.
    Please give us your top 5 reasons why, after one-fourth of the season, the Cardinals are not improved over last season and in fact are a fourth-place team that trails even the Pirates. Thank you.
    Another rotten start for Matt Carpenter is a reason. A slow start for Paul Goldschmidt is another. The rotation has not wowed. The pitching staff, as a whole, is giving up way too many home runs. And perhaps the most important thing to remember? The division is damn good. That's not an excuse for the Cardinals. Not even close. It should be the biggest concern.
    I'm afraid so. Never quite understood the rush to write them off. It's not like they lost much. A +54 is wild. The second-place Brewers have a +2. The third-place Cardinals are +20. Despite what the previous commenter said, the Cards are in third place, not fourth. Though it doesn't make much of a difference on May 14. More concerning are the problem areas, and the presence of the Cubs and Brewers in this crowded race.
    MO had a chance after dec to go from good to great. instead they closed shop for the winter. surprise! other teams are darn good too. This isn't the early 2000's. maybe 4 time missing playoffs will be the charm to change philosophy.
  • Maybe. The more often the Cardinals don't get more with less, the more you think they will do more. The case was there to add a proven starter this offseason. The Cardinals touted depth, the same depth they seem reluctant to sample now. If the patience pays off, they can say they played it right. If an answer emerges from within or is added from the outside, great. But if one comes too late, asking why it didn't come sooner will be a fair question.
    Ben, I know you threw the towel in on moving Carp from the LO spot in the past, how about now?
    I did. And I'm reluctant to backtrack now. But hey, he's hitting .201/.318/.336 in 150 at-bats. It's a completely fair and reasonable question and discussion. Oh, and Dexter Fowler is hitting .294/.405/.392. That's the best OBP of any Cardinals hitter not named Paul DeJong. Fowler has not had one leadoff at bat yet this season. I would have zero problems with him getting a look there. But if I was making the lineup card, I would buy as much time as I could for Carpenter. I'd push it until the end of the month to see if he catches. I know I'll get crushed for that, but it's what I would do.
    They can make moves to improve this team...gomber has been very good and consistent. there are better relievers in memphis than in majors. A move doesn't have to be a huge trade...these games count too!
    Agree. Don't stress depth then not take advantage of it. Weaponize the depth. I've said it all offseason. If guys don't like it, pitch better.
    I dont live in the St Louis area but have bought tickets to 4-5 Cardinals game every year until 2016. I don't plan on going to any games until ownership proves they want to win championships and not just be in the second wild card race. I wish more fans would do this because I feel it is the only way things will change for the positive.
    If you're waiting on the ownership to go into championship or bust mode, you are likely going to be waiting for a while. The Cardinals have a system, and we have discussed it here too many times to count. They build a team they think can get in, because they think a team that can get in can go the distance. They value annual contention over spikes of it. They toggle the needle back and forth depending on various factors -- urgency, finances, pressure, etc -- but it's hard to imagine the system drastically changing much under this leadership. It is a fan's right to send a message with money spent or not spent. It's the best way to send a message. But the attendance at Busch is healthy, and there is likely someone buying the tickets you pass up.
    The Cards are not the team we thought they'd be. They are not even close to being on the same tier as the Cubs, Brewers and Dodgers. In fact, a wild card spot is questionable now. Why not spell Carpenter for awhile and give Munoz a shot. At least he's been hitting when he does play. What you see is what you get in Wong. Never going to be more than a .245 hitter. How much longer is Schilt going stay with this plan? It ain't working!!
    Pump the brakes a bit. The Cardinals are 3.5 games behind the Cubs and one game behind the Brewers. That is, by definition, close to the Cubs and the Brewers. Flag Day, the day many say the standings start to show a true representation of the race, is still one month away. Breathe.
     
    I'm Team Munoz as much as anyone. I've championed him since he showed up and called it crazy -- because it was -- when there was a notion that Drew Robinson deserved to be on the team more than him. No way. That said, there is much evidence that suggests you are going to get more out of Matt Carpenter than Munoz. So, when Carpenter struggles like he is now, that's the incentive for sticking with him.
     
    We will have to agree to disagree on Wong. He plays because of his defense. It's elite. His offense is going to come and go. He's not the guy who carries the lineup. He's a guy who saves runs.
    Just one time I'd like to see Yadier Molina run hard down the first base line. I get it, he's 36 years old and he's catches more innings than any other catcher, but when you hit a slow grounder on the infield with one out and bases loaded run hard down that line to score a run and break up that double play. It frustrates me.
  • Molina discussed this during spring training. He basically said it's risk management. He knows he's going to be out, so he saves his bullets. I agree that it's not always the most palatable thing to watch. It goes against the fundamental staple of the game -- run hard to first base -- but that is far from the only example in baseball these days, and teams are clearly OK with it, considering it continues to happen across the sport. They would rather take the out than risk a pulled hamstring for hustle's sake.
  • What do you make of Ozuna changing agents?
    Seems like a smart call for him.
    I don't think Ozuna would have fared all that well in a Scott-Boras-led free agency.
    Boras wants big money and big years and his guys tend to wait, wait, wait until both come.
    If it hits, great.
    If it doesn't, you can be left stranded. See Arrieta, Jake.
    No matter what Ozuna does this season, he's going to carry questions into whatever comes next -- whether that's extension talk with the Cardinals, or free agency, or free agency that leads to an extension with the Cardinals -- with questions to answer from 2018. We're talking performance and approach.
    The gap between Ozuna, his representation and the Cardinals last season became pretty apparent during the shoulder fiasco. One wonders how a different agent might have bridged the gab between player and team to work toward a solution sooner. Boras played a part in Ozuna finally getting treatment. Would have been nice for all involved if it would have happened sooner.
    Ozuna joining the agency that represents Molina means lines of communication between Ozuna and the Cardinals should improve, if there is something to discuss.
    Again, I'm hesitant to call for an extension for Ozuna.
    I want to see a full season before I beat that drum.
     
     
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