Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Ben Frederickson answers your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Tuesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    How encouraged should we be that the cardinals were able to win 3 very different ball games against the Yankees? Come from behind, win a low scoring pitching duel with the best arms out of the pen, and a slugfest. Just a sign of a team that is playing well? Or should this give us a boost of confidence for playing games in October?
    I think that's a really good read. The Cardinals knew this was a litmus test series. They passed, and in three different ways. They won their way and the Yankees way. That should be a confidence boost. I think it probably "meant" a lot more to the Cardinals than it did to the Yankees.
    Exciting time to be a Cardinals fan. What would be your words for caution the rest of the season?
    A lot is riding on Tyler O'Neill and Paul DeJong, two players who have been either hurt or unproductive this season. This lineup and its hitting instruction remains under the microscope to prove it can succeed in the pressure-packed postseason, where opponents have tons of time to scout weaknesses and the pitching skill to exploit them. Those are the big ones. The pitching should now give the Cardinals a chance to win, even if it lacks the top-level starters other teams might have. The defense and baserunning are good. It's hard to win 1-0 games in the playoffs, perhaps now more than ever. The lineup has to come through.
    Lots of chatter out there Ban about this being a make or break type year for Coach Drinkwitz....I think it is a shame because I think otherwise you might go with a Sam Horn and just take your lumps this year. But I do not think HCED can just afford a 5-7 season based in expectations, never mind the fact that LB might bolt after a year (who could blame him) if Bama or LSU come calling. I am just curious as to your thoughts and as always, thanks for the chat!
    I'd be curious where that's coming from? To me it's always looked like year four will be a better evaluation of how Drinkwitz can or can't hang at this level. He will have his QB in place by then -- or will have a big problem if he doesn't. He will have either found the right DC -- or he will be a coach who can't hire or hold onto the right one. All that recruiting talent fans get worked up about should be on the field in various ways, not waiting. I think year three is about proving things are moving toward a very encouraging year four. Mizzou can't just keep firing coaches who don't have instant success.
    Ben, Is Yadi back to where he was when he first started in MLB? TLR said he didn't care if Yadi ever got a hit he's my catch.
    Yes. Especially when you consider the guys filling in for him were not doing much hitting.
    At some point, would it make sense for schools like Mizzou, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Iowa State, Ok State, KU, K-State, etc. to form a regional conference and compete with similar schools in Football and have a very strong Basketball conference? They are all destined to be bottom half in the SEC or Big 10, or on the outside looking in. As it is headed, a good year at best gets you an inconsequential bowl appearance for those schools Why do that to yourself? Have a fun, fan travel-friendly league. The same inconsequential bowl pickings will still be there. May as well enjoy yourself rather than being someone else's fodder.
    Schools that are in the SEC and Big Ten are not going to be looking to leave.
    They are on the money train.
    Yankees series feels very good at the moment. However, their lineup could look much deeper with Stanton and Rizzo back in the middle of it. Is it really a fair litmus test of what it could be to face them in October?
    Tough grader. It's hard to be completely healthy all at once. Yankees, Astros, Mets and Dodgers are clearly the top-shelf teams this season. The Cardinals sweeping one of them after the trade deadline is a good sign, nothing more. Nothing series in early August tells us for certain what awaits in postseason.
    Sad to see Jason Heyward won't complete his contract with the Cubbies. I always wished he had stayed in St. Louis, thought he'd have fallen off less after putting up his best season patrolling RF at Busch. Maybe wishful thinking, but it's nice to dream about what even a 3-WAR per year Heyward might have meant for the team over the past 7 seasons. Maybe the team never acquires Fowler or possibly even Ozuna, with the obvious implications of the latter.
    I don't think Cardinal Nation would have been very happy with his production post free agency. He was never a 3-WAR guy for the Cubs. Highest he got was 2.4 in 2019. He's high on that list of players the Cardinals wanted that they can now be thankful told them no thanks.
    If Hudson doesn't get his act together, I don't mind watching Pallante throw every 5 days. He, you know, gets out and was trending towards a good 6-7 inning pitcher. Those are handy on winning teams.
    Replacing Hudson could become necessary, but I wouldn't do it with Pallante. One, Pallante needed his innings workload scaled back a bit because he's fast approaching a career-high that could invite challenges at the season's most important time. With that in mind, he's very effective out of the bullpen, more so than Hudson would probably be. Use him now like you're going to use him in the playoffs. There's no guarantee Hudson pitches in the playoffs at this rate.
    Mo said DeJong got Wally Pipped but actually it ended up being Bader who was.
    Great call. 100 percent. When Mozeliak said that about DeJong, I figured it was over for Pauly D and the Cards. I was wrong, clearly.
    Do you think Carpenter would be having this success with the Rangers? They moved on this spring after about 6 weeks.
    Carpenter asked the Rangers for his release when it was clear he was going to have to wait more, and they granted it, making him a free agent.
    They didn't run him off.
    He was then a free agent and the Yankees could pursue.
    It's crazy that a few years ago, it was thought that Flaherty and Hudson would be anchors in the rotation and now we've had two years of razor thin pitching depth at the big league level cause of injury and lackluster performance from both of them as well as others along the way. How do the Cardinals put a plan together to protect against this next year without stifling growth of the young pitchers?
    One clear option would be to go and get the kind of certainty they went out and got at third base and first base, but have been trying to avoid and work around getting for the rotation. Go get a Goldschmdit/Arenado type for the mound. There was not a guaranteed one moved at this trade deadline.
    Give us your NL Central standings prediction.
    Picked the Brewers to win the division. Did not expect them to trade an All-Star closer at the deadline. They tried to get too smart.  I think Cardinals win the division now. Brewers in second. Nothing matters after that.
    I don't get how some people became fixated about where Yadi did his rehab. Some get fixated because Flaherty was rehabbing in SoCal. Who cares! I don't care if Yadi kicked a basketball.
    I think the Cardinals management team can determine what a person needs to rehabilitate an injury and where they can get it done. It could be reported that every single injured player is rehabbing at the Florida complex, but does it really matter?
    Yadi has given us many, many great years that have worn his body down and he deserves the benefit of any doubt. Let's not forget one of his children had surgery this year and I'm sure Yadi's presence helped in that regard.
    I don't think it's a big topic moving forward.
    He's back.
    The team is very clearly better because of it.
    I am with you Ben, I think year 4 is the year. But forgetting many fans unrealistic expectations, what about LB bolting for Bama or Ohio State? I know you cannot worry about everything, but given a chance to be a number one draft choice taken out of Bama after a national championship-type year, can a team like Mizzou really afford to not go with a more veteran QB in order to get LB the ball and take advantage of his very potentially single year here? My only point was that it would be nice to go with a Sam Horn over a Jack Abraham only so that in year 4 Horn would be ready to rock. Thanks.
    I wrote a column a while back about talent retention being the next big thing.
    We talk a lot about recruiting, but when coaches' recruits are being re-recruited by transfer poachers after each season, holding onto the players you are developing is going to be a must.
    Drinkwitz has to prove he can do that.
    The best way to do it is to win, to prove that there is something big to play for at Mizzou, and to prove he is the best coach to get players to where they ultimately want to go.
    Personal relationships go a LONG way in this conversation.
    The same topic will be discussed a lot with Luther Burden. Mizzou got him out of the gate. Can it keep him through the finish? 
    NIL helps. Players know what guys are making other places. If they think they can get more via transferring, some will.
    It would be nice to be able to go with Sam Horn -- if he's physically ready. It's a big, big jump going from high school football, even at a high level, to starting in the SEC. If you rush a kid, it can stunt his development and put him in harm's way. He has to earn it, for his own good. 
    Let's say Flaherty comes back and is throwing well, how would you use him in the playoffs? Is he a starter or more in the Jordan Hicks role?
    Best case scenario is that he becomes an X-factor arm Cardinals opponents don't know how or when the Cardinals will use him. Could be an opener. Could be a late-game hammer. Could be a bridge. Now, what the Cardinals are saying is that he's coming back as a starter. This rotation could use an upgrade there if Hudson continues to struggle. At least until the playoffs begin. Once there, roles can be fluid. First week of September is still the hopeful goal.
    Last night watching MLB highlights I was watching the slumping Padres lose 1-0 to the Giants and had the interesting thought of what would happen if the Giants/Brewers/Cardinals would unseat the Padres from the last wild card after all of the moves they've made at both the trade deadline and in the offseason in recent years. IF they don't make the playoffs and have a bloated payroll and a scortched earth looking farm system, do you think they will break it down and start over again? How much scrutiny would that team have, having probably three of the top players in baseball and not making it to a postseason? Almost as bad as the Angels having Trout and Ohtani and not being able to accomplish anything?
    Settle down now. Padres have about an 83 percent chance of being a wild card. And they will be a dangerous one.
    Your colleague Derrick Goold is apparently not a big Wilson Contreras fan. Should he be the Cards #1 offseason FA target? Should the Cards consider trading Herrera in the offseason if they sign him?
    I guess I missed DG's take. I think Contreras is an interesting name and the Cardinals are about to be in an interesting spot post-Molina. Knizner did not look capable of being the lead guy in his chances this season. Herrera got a taste but didn't look ready right now. How the Cardinals handle this -- try to run it back with these two and hope for better results? -- is going to be really fascinating. Contreras isn't the pitch-framer Molina is. He would be a move toward a more offensive-upside catcher. Maybe pitch framing is not as key as the automated zone gets closer and closer. Maybe the team that signs Contreras trades a catcher the Cardinals see as a better bridge to Herrera? How the Cardinals view Herrera is going to shape things, because Conteras could be after the kind of deal that would overshadow when the Cardinals think Herrera could be ready. So, maybe it's a shorter term answer, but I'm not convinced the Cardinals have, in hand, their answer for 2023 on this current team.
    I'm retired from a major corporation and when someone was out on disability they were checked on. Too much time for sun and fun was frowned upon.
    If this is a Molina reference, the notion that he was not checked on is inaccurate. Team was in pretty steady communication with him during his time away. Players. Front office. Etc.
    Thanks for the chat Ben! Braves in 2021 are the only team to win the World Series without a starting pitcher making at least $30M AAV going back to Astros in 2017 (drama). Cards recently passed on the opportunity to join that category with Scherzer. Do you see the Cardinals changing their approach to spending on top-end SP in the near future without a WS win this year?
    Believe it when you see it, but upgrading the rotation the way they have upgraded with Goldschmidt and Arenado seems like a wise move considering some of the bets on internal pitching that have not worked out, and with the position-playing prospects on the rise.
    BenFred, if the season ended today and the Cards won the WC round, would they play the Mets or Dodgers in the division series? I almost prefer the Dodgers, as Scherzer and DeGrom would be double tough in a 5 game series as opposed to seven games.
    If season ended today, they would face Phillies and then the Mets in the NLDS. So far this season they're 3-4 against the Phillies, 2-5 against the Mets and 1-2 against the Dodgers.
    While it was nice that both Quintana and Montgomery had great opening starts for the Cards, how realistic is it that they continue to pitch that way for the remainder of the season?
    The Cardinals just need them to throw strikes, get groundballs and not issue many walks.
    If they can stay healthy, there's no reason to think they can't do that at a solid pace.
    It's what they were doing for their previous teams most times out.
    Do you think the ban of the shift next year will dramatically hurt the Cardinal's defense next year? Will they have an advantage over other teams because of the athleticism on the roster? What do you think it means for them offensively?
    The good news for the Cardinals is they are not a shift-heavy team defensively. They have embraced the idea more over the years, but their defenders are usually good enough they don't feel the need to chase drastic alignments like some other teams. The Cardinals shift about 28.7 percent of the time, per Statcast data. That ranks 20th out of 30 MLB teams. So, they should be in a better spot than most, one because it won't mean drastically altering what they're doing, and two because they have really strong defensive players. Offensively, it should help almost all hitters regardless of team.
    BenFred -

    Is there any level of concern from the PD staff, or from the team themselves, that heading into the playoffs relying so heavily on Waino to be an ace may be a bad idea?

    Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge Waino fan, and he is continuing to out perform expectations in his age 40 season by tossing a 3.42 era, averaging over 6 innings per outing, and generally just steadying the ship for this pitching staff. And we all have seen how he steps up in the playoffs. BUT he isn't the bulldog ace he used to be. And we don't have anyone else behind him that is.

    How do you see this pitching staff working in the playoffs?
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