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.




    I totally agree with you in regards to letting Carp figure it out by the end of May. If he's still hovering in the low .200's then Fowler should get a sniff at the leadoff spot. I'm still puzzled as to why they gave Carpenter an extension. It's not like someone was going to poach him from us... and if they did there are other short term options out there.
    The Carpenter extension was puzzling in a vacuum but not un-Cardinals-like at all. They rewarded him, basically. They didn't need to. They wanted to. And there are certain players who get this treatment. Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina come to mind. There is so much talk in the chat about the Cardinals being "cheap", I think an actual weakness might be overshadowed. It's cruel to say it like this, but baseball is becoming an increasingly cruel, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business. Here goes. The same Cardinals that make shrewd and painfully pragmatic business moves in almost every other phase seem to have a significant soft spot for their name brand players, even if those name brand players are negotiating without much leverage. The Cardinals will argue these guys have earned it, and it's hard to disagree. But this kind of treatment seems to be becoming increasingly rare in an increasingly cold-blooded game. I also think some of this is the Cardinals want to prove to themselves, to baseball, and to the young players who could be must-keep extension candidates down the line that they will be rewarded for sticking with the Cardinals over their career. Albert left, and look how that turned out. These guys stayed, and look how happy they are. I think optics play a part in this, too.
    Will we be seeing 2 Ben's at The Jason Motte Cornhole Challenge this year?
    I'll be there!
    My co-host is unable to attend, so I've landed another pro teammate in KMOX's Chris Hrabe.
     
     
    We are on pace for an 88 win season. We have not had major injuries like the Yankees and Pirates. It will take some kind of major change to be successful at the stated goal of winning the division. Perhaps everyone starts better, nobody slumps, and our injury luck continues, but if not there will need to be a major addition or two to win the division. If needed, will this team be willing to pull the trigger on a major deal? Not something nibbling at the margins, but a deal that makes this team 10 games better over a half year?
    It should be willing to do that, yes.
    This is not the season to make the kind of trade-deadline moves that leave the team trying to convince us why they are not lateral moves or moves built for the future.
    This is the season to make the moves that help tilt a division toward STL.
    Reminder: Should and will are not the same words.
    Only the Cardinals can make those decisions, but the fan base should be jilted if this is coming down to the wire at the deadline and the team isn't strapping on weapons for the final push.
    Those long, cross-ice passes that get intercepted I refer to as “Barrett Jackmans”. I think this Blues team can win the Cup but the Bruins look scary right now. I think all Cardinals fans should get off the ledge. The Blues were in much worse shape (relatively) than the Cardinals are and look where the Blues are. Talent and depth work and players on other teams get injured. I think Flag Day would be a good point to take stock. Thanks.
  • Just don't say it to Jackman's face!
  • Hey Ben. To me this series feels very similar to the one that the Sharks won in 2016 against the blues in the WCF to this point. However, something about the resiliency of this group which seems to be a skating, fore checking, hungry team version of Berube himself still gives me hope. The power play of course needs to be better but this team and in particular Ryan O'reilly need to start winning more faceoffs. Sunny looked to have some extra jump in his step as well which has been a little overlooked by the much deserved credit given to Bortuzzo. Time to move out Blais and Sunny back up IMO. Do those things and I look smart for once and we head to for the cup final. What say you? Go blues!
    It has some heavy tones of 2016, for sure. Many familiar faces on that San Jose side. You pointed to a few key differences, and I'll add one more big one: Binnington. This guy is lights out after losses. He's started 45 games now between the regular season and the playoffs. He's lost back-to-back starts just twice during that span. Not once has he last three consecutive starts. He is an injection of confidence every time he steps onto the ice.
     
    O'Reilly's faceoff trouble is a confounding weakness at the moment, and the goal Dunn scored after a (rare, these days) O'Reilly faceoff win reminded us how much of a difference it makes for those opportunities to turn into Blues' possessions. Altogether he won seven and lost 14 in Game 2.
     
     
    Does Ozuna's change of agent signal anything from his end?
    It's a risk to read too much into these things, but it does signal he was not thrilled about the notion of letting the Boras camp call the shots in the most important season of his career. It shows he trusts Molina. They're close. That could make him more interested in staying. I've never gotten the sense that Ozuna was determined to leave St. Louis after this season. I do wonder if the Cardinals will pursue him with an extension offer that is appealing to him. Still wonder about that.
    Ben, The line up looks much better with Jose in it. However with the pitching having its struggles giving extra bases or outs exacerbates those issues. Would we be seeing so much of Jose IF others were hitting? Would pulling Jose out if the Cards are up in the 5th or 6th be your plan?
    Sorry! Lost WiFi for a moment. Back up now  . . . 
     
    This sounds familiar, doesn't it? Jose Martinez's season has been the definition of Jose Martinez. Focus on his offense, and you are crazy for not starting him. Focus on his defense, and how can you? His adjusted OPS reads 137, which is 37 points above the league average. His Defensive Runs Saved in right field, per Fielding Bible, reads minus-8. That ranks 35th among right fielders in the majors. Add it all up and he has a 0.1 Wins Above Replacement so far. The good and the bad are canceling one another out. And by playing Dexter Fowler in center field, you are making your defense even worse. The best case scenario would be if Harrison Bader hit well enough to hold down the starting spot in center field and Martinez/Fowler stick in the corners. That would mean going back to the defense-first initiative the Cardinals talked about. It's a little surprising how quickly that plan was turned away from, but that's what happens when Bader's bat starts to lag, and Martinez's bat starts to tempt. If it was as simple as swapping Martinez and Bader for offense/defense, it's not as complicated. But because that forces Fowler to center, where he is also a minus defender, it hurts more than most realize -- until a ball is hit into the gap and everyone misses Bader.
    Ben, I'm curious what you have seen from the Blues in the first 2 games that inspires confidence for the overall series. It seemed, even in game 2, there were stretches where the Blues were greatly outplayed.
    You could make the argument the Blues were greatly outplayed for stretches against both Winnipeg and Dallas, too.
    It's about finding a way, and that's the biggest thing I've seen from the Blues this postseason and in this series that should build confidence.
    The list starts there, then quickly moves to Jordan Binnington.
    Then there's Jaden Schwartz, who seems to be shooting on a goal as wide as the ocean. He's a man on fire.
    The third line has been the best line, and when it's playing as well as it is, who cares what line it is? Robert Thomas has turned the playoffs into an introduction to the nation, and Pat Maroon is a rock.
    Beyond that it's the depth -- the belief in the room that someone will break through and the evidence that is piling up to confirm it. Do you realize how many Blues have scored a postseason goal? Seventeen. Seventeen! And nine have more than one.
    True teamwork. That's their best strength.
    Why did the Cards reward Carpenter with an extra year though? Assuming his option for '20 would have been sufficient. I am not sure, aside from his '18 heater, that he his play over the last couple years warrants the 2-year add.
  • I think we see this the same way. It seemed unnecessary from this seat.
    Why not move Martinez to the second spot in the order? He’s the best hitter on the team, it gets him three at bats and then can be replaced for defense in late innings.
    Because you don't trade for, then extend, Paul Goldschmidt, commit to him being your No. 2 hitter, then scrap that plan after 41 games. It could reach a point where it's time to start tearing the lineup apart and searching for something that works better. Some managers might have done it by now. But most, when given Goldschmidt, are going to buy some more time.
    "Filming practices" -- good one. A timely reference to an incident that did not occur in 2002. Don't tell me you're one of those people in St. Louis who like to keep that myth about the Patriots and Rams alive, are you? I thought -- well, hoped -- you were better than that. It never happened. The Rams lost all on their own.
    People who know more about it than you do disagree.
    With regard to the "pitching depth" narrative, I don't remember the last team that won a World Series because they had starting pitching depth? Come October you need 2-3 guys you can really count on and at least one elite pitcher. Right now, I'd be hard pressed to say we have any of the above.
    That thought seems to be changing. Look how far the Brewers got last season with starters no one knew about. The opener is something we are seeing in postseason games now. Wild times, right? My mention of the pitching depth was in reference to its relationship to the Cardinals' sometimes-frustrating patience with the current pitching staff. It's easy to say you have depth that is knocking the door down when the staff is rocking. When it's not, a question grows. If that depth is so solid, why are we not seeing some of it? The Cardinals pushed back against the notion of adding a starter this offseason. They didn't jump for a starter when Carlos Martinez went down. They didn't when Alex Reyes went down. And yet, a starter like Michael Wacha has two quality starts in seven outings along with a 5.49 FIP. He's given you six innings just twice, and not once in his last three starts. If the depth was as trusted as the Cardinals believe, how is waiting the best case for winning? Yes, you hope Wacha gets it rolling. That's the hope. But if the depth is as good as advertised, it should be compelling the Cardinals to act, not wait.
    I'm not an advocate of making wholesale lineup changes when a team is struggling offensively, but it is one of the managers duties to field a team that has the best chance to win. It wasn't that many years ago that Matheny first moved Carp to the lead off spot, and the team took off as a result. I just think it might be worth a try, move Fowler up and see what he can do in front of Goldy. What could it hurt, I mean they have lost 9 of 11 and are already five games back of the Cubs in the lost column.
    When did 3.5 games back become 5? What could it hurt? Well, take a page from the book of the Blues. The players have universally praised Craig Berube for sticking with lines and showing patience instead of putting them in a blender before every game. That builds trust. Confidence. It also means that when Berube is making changes, as he has done here lately, they are made with conviction and purpose instead of desperation.
  • Why so slow between questions?
    Because I'm on an airplane with not-great WiFi. My apologies.
    They are 5 back in the lost column. you might want to actually look at the standings
    So, should I look a the loss column, or the standings? One decides which teams get in. And neither tell us all that much on May 14.
    Seeing all the Blues questions reminds me that I used to Ben a much bigger Blues fan than Cardinal fan, spent my sports dollars on hockey tickets and went to baseball games rarely if ever. Then came Bill Laurie’s simultaneous decisions to sell the team but strip it of all talent first. After a few years I lost all interest in hockey, and it hasn’t never come back. Perhaps my loss, but I can’t force it. Some fans will come back, but some are lost forever. I trust a sports franchise to care at least as much about winning as I I, and when they betray that trust then getting it back is at best a long and difficult process.
    No better time to come back than now. This group cares. My God, Tom Stillman practically has to be scraped off the ceiling after games. The spending is there. The moves made this offseason showed the intent to go deep, as did the move to switch to Berube after the season-opening face-plant. This is a very likable team.
    Hold the phone. That Patriots thing did not happen. The guy who claimed it did, a disgruntled (and fired) former Patriots' employee, recanted. The Boston Herald recanted, apologized, and fired the reporter who wrote the story. If you've got evidence to the contrary, bring it to light. Otherwise, you're guilty of shoddy journalism. And the protestations of Jim Thomas, the chief apologist for the thoroughly outcoached Mike Martz, does not qualify as "evidence".
    We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Sorry. And yes, a smoking gun would be great. Too bad the NFL decided to destroy evidence. Too bad the league is known for doing whatever it can to cover up stories that make it look bad. JJ, you are the ultimate cynic. Buying the league's story line on this one should go against your grain.
    Hi Ben - Hope its a smooth flight for you. Truth be told the Cubs had a rough stretch, the Brewers had a rough stretch, The Cardinals are in a midst of a rough stretch. Buckle in cause these three teams are flip flopping all season and it will flush itself out come September. That's the beauty of baseball.
  • Bingo.
    The Cubs were "garbage" to begin the season.
    Now, not so much.
    Maybe he's gassed. Maybe he's aching or injured. We likely won't know until the end of the season, but Pietrangelo looked really, really slow and out of place in Game 2. He knew it, and you saw the frustration when he snapped his stick on the goal. Right before one of the goals, he had a pass that had to be saved from becoming an icing call as well. Late in the game, we saw Colton Parayko take his spot on the top unit. Going to be interesting to see if that was a one-time thing or the plan moving forward. He's had a poor series to this point. Scaling back his heavy, heavy workload might not be the worst idea until he shows some positive signs.
    Let's compare the rotations by the numbers.
    They might be closer than you think.
    What jumps out?
    The home runs.
    Get that in check, and this rotation looks better fast.
    Of course, easier said than done.
    Every single member of the rotation has allowed at least seven so far.
     
    WINS
    Cubs: 14
    Cardinals: 15
     
    INNINGS
    Cubs: 215.2
    Cardinals: 221.1
     
    ERA 
    Cubs: 3.21
    Cardinals: 4.35
     
    OPPONENT OPS
    Cubs: .677
    Cardinals: .784
     
    HOME RUNS ALLOWED
    Cubs: 26
    Cardinals: 40
     
    QUALITY STARTS
    Cubs: 20
    Cardinals: 16
     
    STRIKEOUTS
    Cubs: 352
    Cardinals: 357
     
    WALKS:
    Cubs 158
    Cardinals: 145
     
    Are you an in flight adult beverage kind of guy? Is this chat better than any of the in flight entertainment options?
    Just coffee.
    And I picked you all over the cesspool that is cable news.
    That's how much you all mean to me.
    There was a two-part question about Mizzou's Denver duo that got lost in the air, literally. Wanted to hit on that as we near landing. The chatter asked about Joe Flacco's somewhat-viral comment about it not being his job to mentor Drew Lock, and the latest buzz about Michael Porter Jr. planning to play for the Nuggets in NBA summer league.
    On Flacco: I'd encourage folks to watch the entire video of his comments. The quote that want nuts on Twitter looks harsh, but his context made it seem much less abrasive. He basically said, look, I'm here to win games, not to help prepare Lock to take my job. Flacco isn't a long-tenured Broncos legend on a victory lap. He's trying to prove himself and win big. Lock should not expect anything else. This will be more of a competition than a mentor relationship, but that doesn't mean Lock can't learn from it. It might be best for him, honestly.
     
    On MPJ: As always, believe it when you see it. I thought it was hilarious to see some making the argument that he would be better off resting until the season. Resting from what? He's going to have to play at some point. Maybe now is the time. As always, believe it when you see it.
    Isn't this the exact same issue the Cardinals had regarding Jose Martinez last year? Manager played him over Fowler who wasn't producing because the offense was lacking? Sort of feel like we have seen and heard this before. He still out hits everyone but isn't good defensively. Same thing, different year.
    It's going to be the same thing until the National League accepts the DH or Martinez plays elsewhere. Join the DH movement. There are no dues and we are working on T-shirts.
    If you get a chance read about the AAF league in this weeks Sports Illustrated. They are comparing the league to the Fyre Festival. Its a good read.
    I'll check it out. Heard a bit about it on the radio this week. Think the writer was interviewed. He made a point about how the league was thrown together so fast, it really had no chance  to survive. I'll give the XFL credit for taking its time and having a plan. It does seem to be thinking with the long-term goal in mind, which is smart, considering few of us see this being a long-term league.
    Ben - I know most Cardinal fans hope/think Carpenter will hit for more power and get on base more than he has in the first quarter of the season. What if we reach the halfway or two-thirds point and he's still not hitting?
    Then you can't have him hitting first anymore, and have to have a good reason for why guys who are hitting better aren't playing above him. And you regret that extension.
    Gotta run, folks. THANK YOU for hanging with me today. I know there were some delays and hiccups, but I hope it worked out OK and really appreciate you all jumping in. Find me on Twitter if I missed you: @Ben_Fred
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