Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions at 11 a.m. Monday

Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions at 11 a.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to a live chat with Derrick Goold at 11 a.m. Monday.

    With their current active roster they cannot win the central. They need a healthy starting shortstop, a healthy starting left fielder, and another starting pitcher.
    I know it's all woulda coulda shoulda, but if Wainwright had one of those years back he lost to injury (TJ, blown achilles) and he performed as is his usual, would he be more than a fringe HOF candidate, like a good possibility of election? It would've potentially put him close to 200 wins which anymore is outstanding.
    Yes, he would be. We would be talking about the Cardinals Cooperstown-bound battery.
    I was at the game this weekend and noticed that Knizner was catching in between innings and not Molina. I hadn't noticed a backup doing this before...do backup catchers always do this in between innings or is this just a Yadi thing?
    Backups do this all the time while the starter straps on his gear and the pitcher wants to get going. There are two parts of this that are intriguing:
    -- Sometimes pitchers want to throw the last couple of warmup tosses to their catcher, the catcher they'll have in the inning. That is a thing. I did not really know of this being something that some pitchers want to do until recently, even though I've seen it.
    -- Mike Matheny, as manager, would sometimes pop out and catch the pitcher instead of the backup catcher. So you may have seen that a few times.
    Mr. Goold: So the finest third baseman you've seen since Scott Rolen is on pace to make, what, about 20 errors? So I gather you are suggesting that even though Nolan Arenado makes his fair share of errors, what makes him the best third baseman of today is the fact that he makes so many plays on balls other third basemen wouldn't come close to making?
    I'm saying that not only will Nolan Arenado make plays other third baseman won't, he'll commit errors on plays that other third baseman won't even try.
    A few things:
    -- An error isn't the best way to judge a fielder because a fielder who stands still, doesn't move, and makes all the plays hit right to him isn't going to make any errors. He also isn't going to help the team at all, but, hey awesome 1.000 fielding percentage, dude.
    -- There used to be a thing at the ballpark called a Rolen Error. It would be an error given to Rolen because he's expected to make that play, but it wouldn't go to any other third baseman because he's not expected to make that play. That happens.
    What happened to suddenly help Adolis Garcia? Did he go to one of those high-tech training places? Have a come-to-Jesus moment with his flickering career? Finally run into coaches who could help him? (Sorry if this has been asked. I'm late to chat. Day job, you know.)
  • He adjusted his swing. He put in a lot of work, seeing where his career was going, to adapt and improve his swing. I'm glad you brought this up because it's definitely part of the story that is glossed over. The same with the fact that Randy Arozarena added about 15 pounds of muscle from when he was a Cardinal. They both improved themselves, saw an opportunity, made the most of it, and their initiative should be complimented at least as much as the Cardinals are questioned.
    Yesterday I went to watch Liberatore pitch for the Memphis Redbirds. First two innings he was lights out. Impressed. Then it all fell apart. No control issues. Louisville just tagged him pretty good. I say at 21 (or near that) he probably should have been assigned Double A. What say you?
    Definitely an aggressive assignment when it comes to putting him at Class AAA. I thought that was noteworthy, and it sure seemed like the Cardinals were going to put him at Class AA to start the season with Gorman and then get them both to Class AAA at different times through the season. A couple different things happened. One, the Cardinals had injuries above him, thinning the depth chart, and inviting the opening there at Memphis for Liberatore. Two, he pitched impressively in spring. It's not a surprise that a young pitcher at that level going against some major-league players (who have been there, or will reach there) has troubles in the middle innings, especially after not pitching in a game in more than 18 months or so. That's the step a lot of pitchers have to make before they go to the majors, and some make that step in the majors. Think about Austin Gomber. Or think about the real-time adjustments you're seeing Daniel Ponce de Leon make. Or Dakota Hudson and what changed his performance. Liberatore is experiencing that same thing.
    It seems to me the Cardinals philosophy bites us twice. Our nibble, nibble, nibble philosophy (since Dave Duncan days) as we pitch leads to high pitch counts and a lot of walks. However the offense seems to chase the nibbles thrown to us (especially on first pitches) because we make a lot of weak contact on first pitch fastballs just outside the zone. The “fist pitch may be the best pitch we see” mentality hurts us on offense and hurts us on defense because our MO is known to other teams. Your thoughts please.
    That is definitely not their philosophy. That might be the issue, that might be the execution, that might be the reality -- but nibble, nibble, nibble is not Mike Maddux or the Cardinals' philosophy. Heck, it's not even the philosophy of the individual pitchers. It's just what they find themselves doing at times. Jack Flaherty just spoke on a Zoom about watching Lucas Giolito having such relentless confidence in trusting his stuff. He just attacks the hitter. Here it is, go. Wainwright did that Sunday night. Try to catch the curve. Here it is. You know it's coming. I know you know it's coming. Good luck. Flaherty, at his best, bedevils hitters with his slider because they have to respect that he's going to command his fastball at various points in the strike zone and that he can hit those spots with other pitches to. 
    "Outs are in the strike zone," Shildt said a dozen times a week.
    What you see is a team that has a philosophy and then has issues executing it. 
    I apologize if I missed the answer. Can an umpire warn a pitcher and then eject them if they cannot control the strike zones and hit numerous batters and\or throw wild...like Saturday night?
    I want to say yes -- but the issue is intent, and the umpire would have to really believe there's intent, and not just inability. The line between lacking control and purposefully hitting a batter is what the ump has to determine, and baseball with a three-batter minimum absolutely has to find a way to empower the umpire for the safety and benefit of the batter to bounce a pitcher. That's a tough tough call, though. It's a real issue for MLB.
    Tonight , Are the Cardinals TV and radio announcers at Comiskey (whatever its named now) or in a studio in St Lou?
  • I honestly don't know. Rick Hummel is there for the Post-Dispatch. He will be at the ballpark, in person. Last year, I sat outside the White Sox ballpark and was unable to cover those three games in person due to the team's policy. Those were the only three Cardinals games I did not attend in person in 2020.
    We barely know each other.
    Idea to increase offense. Adjust the color pattern on the ball so the spin is more obvious to the batter. Without changing anything else on the ball, dye the leather along the seams to make the color more contrasting. Give it a try by potting masking tape along the seems and throw it around. You will see the spin more easily.
    Or, they could introduce a gold ball that is worth double -- so a single becomes a double, a double becomes a homer, a homer is worth two runs, and a triple is worth one run, $200 for passing home plate, and a chance to get back to second base.
    Cool?
    Larussa hit by a pitch? What manager.? Expand please?
    A player was hit by a pitch. Miguel Batista came into the game to respond in kind. It was a mess. Players ran back out on the field to participate in the brouhaha. Chris Carpenter led a charge from the Cardinals' clubhouse. This was all at spring training. In a game that didn't matter. Against Riggleman and the Nationals. Again, it was a mess.
    I asked this question to the Commish last week but interested in your take: Assuming the Cards will explore a SP by the deadline - how will last years contracted season impact the available arms? All teams will be trying to ramp up their pitchers this year and it seems like a tough year to find an arm to give you that jolt after the deadline knowing that whatever pitcher you get will more than likely be ramping up after low innings last year. Thoughts?
    You ask a really worthwhile question. I'm not sure there's an answer, per se, or if there is one -- it's not in May that we'll have it. I do know that it will be part of any discussion about a pitcher, and that is for the team trading and the team looking to trade. So you're probably going to see pitchers who have a track record of past performance to draw on. And that is likely to be the starters available anyway. A Bumgarner, a Happ ... a Scherzer ... these are all starters who have some track record, lengthy recent or both, and that will guide both the interested teams and also their current teams for what they ask. I do wonder, in the same theme as your question, if we'll see some journeyman starters move around for teams really looking to augment their innings to avoid exhausting their varsity starters before October arrives.
    Thanks always for the chat.

    Prior to the season, I remember your report on the Cards willingness to try more platoon approach in the OF to give more favorable matchups (aka LAD)

    I don’t see that in season and what’s your thought?

    Have the success of Aeolus Garcia and Randy Arozarena had any impact on the Cards way of evaluating OFs?
  • We haven't seen it this season because there has been so few times the complete lineup is together. O'Neill, Bader, and Carlson have been in the field at the same time for, what, a week? And it's not like there's production forcing the issue from somewhere else. The Cardinals saw the matchup mania as a way to handle center field and second base, and we may yet see that -- with Carlson, Edman, and Carpenter vs. righties, and then you have Bader, Edman, and Carlson against lefties. But that would mean all of them are going well, or at least all of them are true to their splits. And it just hasn't been that way yet this season. It's still something they're looking to do.
    Arozarena just missed a HR by a few feet against Toronto.
    Is it common on other teams for players to seek out guidance from hitting coaches who have been previously fired by team? I thought it was odd that Harrison Bader sought help from ex coach Bill Mueller rather than Jeff Albert, the coach the team currently employs.
    Yes, it is. Common enough that I wasn't jarred at all by the fact that happened. Heyward had an individual hitting instructor while he was with the Cardinals. Matt Carpenter sought out help from Lance Berkman a few years ago, and that was viewed by fans as a good thing, not an indictment on the hitting coaches. Heck, current players talk to Edmonds about hitting -- as you've probably heard him say on the broadcasts -- and that's acknowledged as beneficial, at times, by team officials. Pitchers and hitters of all kinds are in contact with past coaches or teammates they trust. Sometimes you'll see stories celebrating how a player called up his high school coach, his college coach, and old teammate and that little tip right there unlocked his swing or reminded him of his mechanics. These are become stories that are celebrated.
    Also some context: Bill Mueller was the assistant hitting coach with John Mabry on Mike Matheny's staff. Mueller had taken a leave of absence for some time to return home for a family matter. He was then dismissed when Mabry was because Mabry and Matheny were dismissed at the same time. There was never any indication that Mueller was dismissed for reasons that had directly to do with his performance.
    Your tweet last night greatly illustrated an offensive problem larger than just one game (6 for their last 101 in RISP ABs). Let's indulge a certain segment of the fanbase and say Jeff Albert gets dismissed this afternoon and a new hitting coach with a different philosophy/method gets hired tomorrow. Do you feel that it could actually make a difference in RISP performance or is the performance more of roster construction? My fear is the latter - if feels as if the team has struggled more than just this season with RISP and this is more of a problem with the players than the coaching. Would like to hear your thoughts on even if a change is made, would it make a difference mid-season. Good luck today with the chat Derrick, the sea appears angry and the chop rough.
    I would not entirely dismiss the role a coach or philosophy/approach plays in RISP success. The Cardinals in 2013 were otherwordly with runners in scoring position, and some of that had to do, you'll recall, with Allen Craig batting better than .400 with runners in scoring position. And that was no small sample size. Over the course of what would have been, goodness, nearly three/four months of at-bats he was like a .350 hitter in those spots. Charlie Manuel once told me that he admired how the Cardinals "figured it out," and his point was that they were so good with OBP -- look back at the numbers -- that they could then get the defense in motion, away from the shift, and on their feet and open up spaces on the field for hitters like Craig to excel. 
    It was the marriage of personnel -- high OBP, hitters like peak Craig -- and approach.
    It's always going to be skill/personnel > approach, because any approach is, by definition, going to hinge on that player/team's ability to execute it. And if they don't have that ability then they either won't succeed or a new approach is needed.
    One thing about the current approach for the Cardinals is they don't always delineate between a RISP at-bat and an open-bases at-bat. Yes, they play the scoreboard. Yes, they need the ball in play. But the current thinking is that a quality at-bat looking for a strike in a prescribed zone and hitting it hard is going to produce regardless of the situation. I get the thinking behind that. A swing/approach that produces a double when the bases are empty also produces a double when a runner is scoring position. I'm oversimplifying but you get the idea: A sound approach at the plate is a sound approach, regardless of situation, and a sound approach begins with identifying the pitch to hit and drilling it. The disconnect that is large part personnel and small part modern hitting is the strikeout, and how that in some situations absolutely unplugs an inning when a ball in play, as Manuel, said can finds holes if the defense is in motion. A hitter looking to do what he does regardless of the spot, is going to invite the shift, or risk the strikeout and innings collapse, RISP are left stranded, offenses burst big and go quiet for stretches.    
    cards are almost to flag day. what's the major need at deadline to improve team? Jeff albert on hot seat?
    Starting pitching. He started the season on it. This is a big year for the hitting philosophy. But here's something important: Team batting average won't be what determines his job status.
    While we're on the Jeff Albert subject, its been said before that he is also building the organization's hitting system, top to bottom. Is that a normal thing for hitting coaches? I would've assumed there would be one person at the major league level, and then another in the FO who is in charge of the organizational systems
  • It has not been a normal thing for hitting coaches with the Cardinals. That was their point. They didn't want normal. They felt they had fallen behind other organizations and wanted to catch up, to find the person to help them do it. It's not a normal thing for many other teams in baseball, but it is a popular model for the most forward-thinking teams.
  • Derrick, thanks so much for chats. Where is the strike zone that is shown on tv in relation to home plate? Is it at the front, middle or back of home plate? Sometimes I will see a breaking ball that looks to catch the front of the plate & caught outside of the plate. Thanks
    That's another failing of the two-dimensional box on the TV screen, The strike zone is over the plate. So it's 3-D, and I am often confused when a pitch appears to sweep from one side of the plate to the other and is called a ball -- because it had to go across the plate at some point ... right? Did it do that before reaching the plate? I'd like to know more. I really like the 3D modeling that we see for some pitches.
    The umpire should of thrown out Baez for arguing strikes and balls. Notice how Arenado remained relatively calm with a similar missed call?
    by When will likely see Andrew Miller activated? 5/24/2021 9:00:55 PM
    I'm sure it's just a coincidence that you suggest this after one guy hits a two-run homer to win the game and the other has the sacrifice fly that would have won the game without the two-run homer to chase. Completely coincidence. Completely.
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