Cardinals chat: Hall of Fame baseball writer Rick Hummel takes your questions at 11 a.m. Monday

Cardinals chat: Hall of Fame baseball writer Rick Hummel takes your questions at 11 a.m. Monday

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

    Voit is hurt Gallegos is pitching well. Arozarena is batting 246 with a 703 OPS and Libotore is progressing well. Pham is batting 140 with a 450 OPS and Cabrera is pitching well. Wong is hurt. Grichuk is doing good but is past his arbitration years and under contract. Aeranado is playing 3rd. I'm always quick to criticize MO but my hats off to him is it possible MO was taking the long view? Thanks for the chats.
    There is almost always another side to these matters.
    How long until Oviedo and Libertore are in the rotation? Something has to be done because I don’t know if the current 5 can get the job done and at this point Mikolas can’t be counted on and you have no idea what he’ll look like even if he’s healthy. Also is there any chance we see Reyes in the rotation this year? As hicks gets more work I think it’s a waste to use someone with Reyes’s talent for 1 inning when your starters are having so much trouble.
    Oviedo will be getting a start during the next home stand, the way I see it. Liberatore needs to have a season in the minors. The Cardinals  have a lot of money tied up in Mikolas for three more seasons, so they are going to count on him when he's back. As for Reyes, he wouldn't start until later in the year because the Cardinals don't feel his arm is strong enough to handle a starter's load for an entire season just yet.
    It's been a bad look losing 4 out of the first 5 series. Is this addition of the Cardinals destined to be a mediocre team w the suspect starting pitching and below average OF hitters?
    I go with below-par starting pitching and below average play both offensively and defensively in the outfield. But, in both cases, there have been two players out with injury, so let's see how that looks in a couple of weeks.
    When Bader gets back and moves Carlson back to RF how long does the management let the O'Neill/ Williams experiment last before an established LH outfielder is acquired?
  • Let's see how O'Neill and Williams do before you head to the trade market. O'Neill still has the upper hand because he had a big spring and he is a Gold Glover.
  • Will Schildt be able to leave Goldy/ Areanado at 2/3 when Yadi comes off his hot streak as he's never been a cleanup hitter? What can he do besides put Areanado at 4 as there doesn't seem to be any other option?
    Molina could hit behind those two but just bat fifth, if Shildt wants to move Carlson to second, which I would consider. Then, a lineup could be Edman, Carlson, Goldschmidt, Arenado, Molina, DeJong, O'Neill (later this week), Williams and the pitcher.
    Good morning, Mr. Hummel. Thank you for your time, chat, and outstanding coverage of the Cardinals. I know that Shildt is better at explaining the reasoning behind his moves than was Matheny, but Shildt seems to have a Matheny-like stubbornness about his moves and disconnect on what is happening on the field. For instance, his defending Cardinals hitters for their hard contact and high exit velocity of batted balls, in particular with Matt Carpenter. Last I saw, teams only were rewarded for getting base hits and scoring runs, not making hard outs. Do you agree that there is a disconnect there with Shildt? Also, how long do the Cardinals continue the failed Great Outfield Experiment, before considering outside solutions? To the middle of May, or do they wait longer, again saying injuries (O'Neill and Bader) have not provided an ample opportunity for a fair evaluation? Finally, I think it's time for the Cardinals to say farewell to Carpenter (like the Yankees and Jay Bruce), so they can give him an appreciative and appropriate send-off at the All-Star break. Do you agree?Thank you.
    You're welcome. May will be a big month for the outfield and the starting pitching. If neither is good enough by the end of that month, moves will have to be considered. I am not a big proponent of how hard a ball is hit although I know that is how many hitters are judged now. I am a proponent of how many balls find grass.
    Aside from the losses, it will be interesting to see what happens with the local TV ratings if these starting pitchers don't turn things around. Watching these pitchers nibble and grind through 25-30 pitch innings is exactly what baseball is trying to avoid and it boring TV. The innings are long and the action is slow. An while I think most Cards fans absolutely appreciate a masterfully pitched game, they want to see their hitters hit... which also is not happening on a regular basis.
    But, you'll have to admit that a time of 2:34 was quite good for Sunday's game. It made the loss less painful, I trust, for some of you.
    Carp is bad. I am tiered of hearing about how hard he hits the ball into the shift. My parents used to encourage me by telling me I hit a couple of good foul balls. They should have just told me that I was a lousy hitter.
    Perhaps they should have. Yes, the time has come for Carpenter to put more balls into play, no matter how hard they are struck. He is striking out at better than a 40% clip per at-bat.
    Hello Commish, are you still writing for the PD? Haven't seen any articles lately. When will the Cards end the Carpenter experiment? The cards need to move Carlson up to #2 in the order to lengthen the lineup for Goldy and Arenado. The cards also need to get he pitchers to concentrate on throwing strikes notice yesterdays pitcher with over 80 pitches in 5 innings, the bullpen won't last at this rate. What say you Commish.
    Yes, I'm still on the payroll. I don't take that many trips any more but I'll be back in action on the next home stand which starts Friday. You are correct. Five innings (or less) a start will kill the bullpen.
    Generally I do not favor a reentry rule. However I wonder if the rules should be changed to allow a catcher to reenter if he is injured while catching by taking a foul tip for example. The reentry rule would only apply for the half inning during which he is injured. If he is scheduled to bat the next half inning he must bat or is out of the game. If he is not scheduled to bat then he must return for the next half inning on defense or he is out of the game. This would allow for a reasonable examination of potential injury and would speed up the game by not waiting for a determination whether the injury was serious. There would be no advantage to the team using the reentry.
    I don't have any problem with this, I guess, but I don't see that many situations where it would be necessary. Most catchers would refuse to come out, anyway.
    When you look up player or team stats which site do you use?
    I don’t recall seeing this discussed in all the Carp “conversations” but has anyone suggested he consider wearing batting gloves? Seems like at this point he would be willing to try anything.
    Retrosheet, mlb.com are two sites I would use, to answer the previous question. Carp himself has mentioned how he might use batting gloves although I don't see how that would improve the contact rate.
    Commish, how did the front office so badly miss on its assessment of the rotation? Wainwright is passed his prime, Martinez isn’t going to hang much longer, Ponce and Gant are number 5 starters at best. Kim is still an unproven in this league, and the front office had to know that Mikolas recovery wasn’t going well after recurring shoulder problems in the spring. Many outside experts used the woeful starting pitching as the basis of their 75 -80 win prediction for the club. You were the only scribe at the paper consistently calling out concerns on this rotation. Where do we go from here?
    The Cardinals will wait to see what they have in Kim, Mikolas and Oviedo and that probably will take a month or so. Wainwright hasn't been bad and neither has Martinez really. There is a time to go in another outside direction but the Cardinals don't feel that they have reached that point. I tend to agree. But, at this time in May, I might have a different perspective on this.
    I don't think the Cardinals are doing Matt Carpenter any favors, first by playing him so much, second by batting him in the heart of the order, and 3rd with all of the "Don't believe your lying eyes" process stats they keep citing to justify their decisions. Often with a smug tone. All of that hurts both the credibility of the player, the manager and the organization as a whole.
    Carpenter will play once in a while but he should not be considered a regular player at this point and he shouldn't bat fifth either until he picks it up.
  • Mediocre Moe has provided great infield abysmal outfield and below average pitching,
    Are they ever going to put a complete team out there like 2011? A whole decade of Downsloping results
    So those National League championship series appearances (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2019) and the World Series appearance in 2013 count as a "downslope?"
    You can argue with how their teams have been built but not many other teams have had those kind of results in the past 10 years, plus playoff appearances in 2015 and 2020. I'd have hated to have you as one of my teachers. You're a tough grader. 
    Commish,

    Thanks for the always exciting chats from you and DG! Keep up the GREAT work!

    The Cardinals want consistency in hitting and runs scored consistently from their offense, YET the 3 Results Approach will never yield that. The 140 strikeouts so far this year in 561 plate appearances (25% strikeout rate and .221 team BA) proves that. This isn't new. This isn't a small sample size either. This has been the case for the last few years. I guess Shildty is right; the Cardinals have the highest Exit Velocity in MLB. Exiting the batter's box going back to the dugout that is. If EV is the goal, BULLSEYE, YET, I thought the goal was scoring runs consistently and winning games. Most games, that goal goes unthreatened. #FreeMarkBudaska #SeeTheBallHitTheBall

    Management told us this year that the player(s) getting the best results would play and that it was time to see what they had in these young players, YET that has not been the case. Not naming any names (because we all know who they are and we have whipped them to death), YET they are setting themselves up to repeat the Arozarena malady again if they do not see what they have in some of these other players right now. It can't be much worse than the results that the offense (and the defense sometimes) is currently getting.

    The team needs the starters to go deeper into games and provide some relief to the bullpen, YET they pull Gant after 5 innings and 88 pitches for a pinch hitter to lead-off the 6th when the offense had only produced 1 hit thus far. It's not the first time it's happened this year. Quit coddling these starters and give them the opportunity to test their stuff and build some consistency. There will be no gas left in the bullpen tank at the end of the year when it's needed most if you don't.

    I'm a Cardinals fan for life, good, bad or ugly. I'm named after Stan Musial and Kenny Boyer for George Kissel's sake. YET these games are becoming hard to watch because they lack entertainment value. They're boring. Something HAS to change. There's an old saying in hockey that goes, "If you've got a mule that's stuck in the mud, you can whip him until he's dead, but he's still just stuck in the mud". YET management seems to think the matrix will bend towards them instead of continuing to bend further away from them. Your thoughts?
    Thank you for your kind words. "Exciting" hasn't been a word I've heard associated with the chats. There's a lot to process here but you've made some good points. More balls have to be put into play. Starters have to go longer. I didn't mind pinch hitting for Gant. You had a reasonably rested bullpen. You had a full bench. And he's not a good hitter and you're down two runs. 
    Your TV excitement level should increase if more players make contact with more balls more often. Sounds simple, doesn't it? 
    Commish,

    You had stated in early chats that a lot of fans are freaking out over a bench bat, ie Matt Carpenter. With the lack of production from the OF options, he has now been thrust into the starting role again. I understand that his advanced stats seem to predict a turnaround in results, but are you seeing anything with the eye test to suggest that?
    Not really although he's not going to hit .069.  When Tyler O'Neill returns to the outfield, Tommy Edman should return to the infield and Carpenter should return to the bench, where he had been projected.
    When examining the deficiencies of the Cardinals most of us are quick to point to the absence of a transcendent offensive talent like Pujols that can carry a line-up. But what I think this organization is deeply missing are the checks and balances created by an empowered manager. Since LaRussa, DeWitt and Mo have opted to hire two “just grateful for the opportunity” managers. My guess is that they did this to maintain total control and avoid any pushback on their vision for the team. But here is the problem, that approach has netted 1 WS appearance and zero rings in 10 seasons. Just like an NFL coach who also takes the title of GM and then proceeds to make bad rosters decisions and drafting blunders, the Cards FO is flawed. And no one is in a position of power to say “now wait a minute…” LaRussa would not have accepted this collection of outfielders for a 3rd and 4th spin on the carousel of mediocrity. But “gosh golly” Mike is a yes man who lacks the cache (right now) to push back.
    If you do the math, Shildt is 169-135 for 304 games, which is a laudable percentage, for what you term to be a flawed process.  If you pro-rated this for two seasons (324) games, Shildt's teams would have won 90 per year. La Russa's last World Series team won 90 games. No rings in 10 years yes. But  90 wins a year sounds pretty good to me and the Cardinals have won more than four times since 2011 and have had no losing seasons.
    I have been impressed with Edman's defense in right field. Can he play center? Also is there anyone else who could play second and keep Edman in the outfield?
    The Cardinals are better off defensively with Edman at second His arm really isn't a right-field arm although his accuracy is good and he can run down about anything. The club does not have another everyday second baseman in waiting. The changes you are seeking will have to come in the outfield with the return of Bader and O'Neill. The latter should be the first one back from the injured list.
  • There is a saying about how deceiving statistics can be. The Cardinals are third in the National League in runs scored and yet the offense has the appearance of underperforming. What solutions might be available to improve the consistency of the offense? It seems the inconsistency applies even to the big hitters.
    No one is immune. Taking a walk once in a while might help jump-start an inning.
    I thought that Carlos Martinez got a raw deal the other day. Yes they scored six runs in one inning and all of them were earned, but it seemed as though the Cardinals defense gave the Phillies an extra three outs that inning. Was that your impression and do you think the Cardinals can overcome their offensive inconsistency by improving the defense?
    When you have offensive and starting pitching inconsistency, you can't afford to be giving teams extra outs in an inning and in the Philadelphia game, the Cardinals gave the Phils three free ones in the same inning.
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