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.

    Hey gang, hope your Tuesday is off to a strong start. Crunched some numbers this morning and figured I'd share. Cardinals have lost back-to-back games just once since All-Star break. It happened on July 26. Since then they have one of the best three records in baseball: Dodgers: 20-5, Cardinals 19-4, Mets: 19-8. Pretty impressive. Fire away.
    I guarantee the lack of production from the 6-7-8-9 positions will come back to haunt the cardinals in the post season. I hope they will learn from this for next year’s roster. Time to get an outfielder and shortstop that can hit.
    Perhaps. This surging Cardinals offense is going to face a pass/fail test in the postseason when it comes to facing elite pitching, specifically of the right-handed variety. But give it some credit. As of today the Cardinals since the All-Star break rank -- checks notes -- first in average (.279), first in on-base percentage (.358) and first in slugging percentage (.496). They are powering up, as any team has to these days. Manager Oli Marmol is doing a very good job not asking too much out of any one guy -- other than the two MVP candidates who can carry that kind of load. He's playing the splits smartly and getting a better overall offense out of maximizing all of his parts. That's what the Cardinals expected and hoped for when they promoted him, and it's working well.
    (Sorry for delay. Was wrapping up a call. Good to go now.)
    Pretty ironic to see an uncomfortable Molina interviewing after last night win wearing his championship teams basketball hat. Along w many others I've complained for years by never taking days off his and therefore the teams play has suffered. We all should be happy he's embracing a lesser role positivity even if it's not how we think he should do it.
    I don't think he's uncomfortable about his decision. His manager supported it, at least publicly, as did his teammates. Don't confuse that with some of those same folks and front office types being surprised he left the team to go to the basketball celebration. It raised some eyebrows. But the team is not going to pick a big battle with Molina at this point in time. He has a different set of rules, and no one argues against that fact. The team is rolling. Don't turn a mole hill into a mountain. That's the vibe I got. At this point the team wants to get Molina across the finish line and it needs him in the playoffs, because he's still their best option behind the plate. That's a big concern for 2023.
    With how he has been pitching for the Cardinals, especially last night....should we be acknowledging that Montgomery is going The Full Monty for the Redbirds?
    When Jordan Montgomery was traded to the Cardinals, I wondered how he might have been talked about if the talking heads knew he was on the market.
    He wasn't -- until the Yankees felt he was tradable after their pickup of Frankie Montas.
    Montas was believed to be the top available starter on the trade market in what was perceived as deadline that had teams in need of pitching but not many surefire big upgrades.
    Well, Montas during his time with the Yankees has a 9.00 ERA after three starts that combined to produce 14 innings.
    Montgomery with the Cardinals has a 0.35 ERA through four starts that combined to produce 25.2 innings.
    Montas has an ERA+ of 44 with the Yankees.
    League average is 100.
    Montgomery's ERA+ with the Cardinals is 1,097.
    The Cardinals figured out how to make baseball's best trade-deadline pitching pickup, so far.
    And Quintana has been pretty dang solid, too.
    Hello Ben

    So, Yadi comes to spring training out of shape, struggles, gets hurt and leaves the team for a couple months, seen managing his basketball team in PR, leaves again to be with the basketball team.....during a run to try and secure a playoff spot. He seems like he really has checked out this year. Seems the Cards are letting him do whatever he wants, regardless of how it affects the team.
    Molina himself said at spring training that this season was going to look a lot different. He was going to play less. There was some discussion around him about if he considered not coming back at all. He was fired up when he got to camp but knew it was going to take a while for him to get back to where he wanted to be, physically. His knees started bothering him and it required treatment, and on top of that he was frustrated with how he was performing. He took some time away -- not different than any other rehabbing player but got a lot more attention -- and it was clear he was missed. The team started leaning on him to come back. He did. All good. Onward. Then this basketball blip. If that's all it is, it's no big deal. But those suggesting it's normal are kidding themselves. Molina clearly has an eye on what's next for him after this playing days have ended. He's earned a lot of respect with the team and he's putting it to a test in his final season. He also knows what we know. He's still this team's best option behind the plate. All will be forgiven and forgotten, I'm sure, as long as he's in the saddle for the postseason and locked in, which I imagine he will be. One thing to keep in mind. The Cardinals are not worrying about winning the division. They're not going to say that out loud. But they think they're going to run away with this thing. Signs suggest they are. So Molina bouncing home to Puerto Rico for a couple of days was not viewed as, "he's leaving us in the middle of push for a playoff spot." The Cardinals are pretty convinced they're going to cruise to a division championship.
    Hopefully president of baseball operations has learned something from his dumpster diving in the off-season for relief pitchers and will get some quality over the winter. If I was him I would extend Montgomery for a similar term as he gave his one off-season starter?
    Montgomery arrived with an additional year of control for 2023 season.
    There's no reason to rush an extension with him now.
    The old farm team, Atlanta aka the Braves should be the bar for the Cardinals moving forward. They have a good mix of veteran talent and young core - Acuna, Riley, Harris, Grissom, Strider, etc. that will keep them competitive for a while...and along them to go far in the playoffs

    Where does the vaunted third bat and the future ace(s) for the Cardinals come from? Free agency, trade or within....Flaherty can not be counted on at this point.

    Look to Miami for some of their excess pitching and sign a free agent bat (they tend to do better than pitchers)

    MO's record with free agency is a lot of swing and miss anyway, so trade seems to be his best play.

    We also will need an upgrade at SS - unless they decide to use Edman there and put Donovan at 2nd..

    Catcher - will be hard to replace Molina's defensive genius and game-planning/calling and some more back-end bullpen help would be good too.

    That's quite a shopping list for MO.
    The Cardinals are 5 games up on their division. The Braves are three games back in their own. I know The Chat is reluctant to give the team some love, but it's OK to acknowledge that the Cardinals are playing well, benefitting from good trade-deadline upgrades and looking more and more like a team that could do some postseason damage. With some more help coming. There's going to be plenty of time for offseason roster work. The most important part of this season comes first.
    Thanks for the chat. Love the fire in Marmol on Sunday! The umpiring this year at times has been very bad. I don't like that there is no accountability for the umpires. A player doesn't perform they get sent down or released. A manger or general manager doesn't perform to expectations, they are fired. It is frustrating as a fan to see umpires who have a track record of poor perform continue to call games with little to nothing being done.

    A tip of the hat to Mo and the front office for the deadline moves, not moving on Soto and bringing #5 back home! I have questioned at times some of the moves or lack of them. We had a glaring need for starting pitching and they got it! Monty has been fantastic and love that we have him another year at least (hoping more). As for #5, what more can be said. It has been incredible to watch the run he is on! Brings back great memories of the mid-2000's!
    Sunday's ump show was a perfect display of what Oli Marmol has faced at times this season -- unnecessary and unprofessional treatment from some (not all) of the old-time umpires who still operate under the idea that a rookie manager needs to "pay his dues" or other crap before he can point out the ways an umpire is screwing up the game.
    Anyone who has ever dealt with the junk that can come with being "young" in a job can relate. Marmol has no tolerance for it and he shouldn't. So, he gave it right back to C.B. Bucknor. Good for him.
    Most umpires are very good at their job but unfortunately umpires as a whole do not do a very good job weeding out the worst, and those are the guys who unfortunately set the tone of discussion around the job. It is their reluctance to hold their worst offenders accountable that will eventually get calling balls and strikes taken from their list of duties.
    No disrespect but maybe should have asked Hummel. With all the updates on Pujols stats who or what is the go to best credible source? Sometimes Pujols is currently credited w being #9 in all time hits but in other #10? I'm guessing from looking at the list in Baseball Reference it's Cap Anson (career spanning 1871-97) maybe not being included? There was also some questions if Ruth 2nd all time RBI total is really only 2202 instead of 2214 which w Pujols recent surge is now within reach(has 2188). Do you know of others? With baseball being such a historical statistically driven sport it would be nice to have a "Golden Standard".
    Pujols is in ninth place in all-time hits. If you see Elias Sports Bureau references, that is the best one. Why? Because Elias is the official statistician of Major League Baseball. Problem is, Elias doesn't publish its records in a searchable fashion for the public.
    When will the next eye on the tigers podcast drop? I thought that you guys were thinking about increasing the amount of episodes each week?
    We're doing one per week now through football season. Recording one later this week that should post as soon as it gets edited. Special guest edition. Thanks for listening!
    Hi Ben, Appreciate the chats. Is it time for Albert to be the permanent DH, even against right handed pitching?
    Nope. Pick some spots here and there, if you like his swing against a certain right-hander's stuff or if he has overwhelming career history against a certain guy, but you don't fix what is not broken, and you keep with the plan that is really working well. If the Cardinals keep building their division lead, you can get a little greedy, especially at home. But I wouldn't go crazy with it. Part of the reason Pujols is succeeding, I think, is because of this role. It's what the thrives in now. You start going to him every day and that could change. And that -- most importantly -- would make you a less dangerous team in the postseason. Marmol has done a good job finding and maximizing the modern Pujols sweet spot.
    Commish says we are not nearing the end of the Dakota Hudson era. I say we are if Flaherty and Matz return to the rotation next season along with Montgomery. This does not appear to be a good time for sinker ball pitchers with no margin of error when most pitchers throw heat. Thoughts?
    I wouldn't rush to connect the dots of him potentially (likely) being bounced from the rotation this season and him not being back next season. He's not a free agent until after the 2024 season. He's been a very solid pitcher who is struggling in his first full season back from Tommy John. That's pretty normal. He's not yet 28 (about to be) and his "bad" version has been a fifth starter who still gives the team a chance to win. I'm with Commish on this one. No reason to rush him out of the picture, even if he slips out of the 2022 one. Again, it's pretty common for guys to have less  than stellar results their first full season back from TJ.
    Don't judge me for asking this, but why wasn't Tyler O'Neill dressed up like a cowboy? Does he get along with teammates? Did others not participate?
    I don't know who did and didn't. Just the guys I saw in the clubhouse after the game. Some guys were more tame in their western tastes than others, as you can imagine. Wouldn't read into that too much.
    This is the Yankee Front Office: There was a typo in Montgomery's contract so we are going to go ahead and void that out. Please send him back...thank you.
    Ha! Wait until a starter goes down in NYC. Not wishing that on anyone but it happens all the time. That could make a questionable trade turned a regrettable one look even worse. Hopefully for NYC front office sake, Harrison Bader comes up big in the playoffs.
    In your piece on Saturday, you had a line in the Matz write-up that said “…when roles take a backseat to doing whatever it takes to win.” On that note, I remain absolutely perplexed by Donovan’s selective usage; all the guy does is hit. I appreciate that DeJong earned his way back to the majors, but they don’t need to suffer through his 3-for-30 jags anymore, this isn’t 2021, you have quality depth. If Nootbaar’s production can supplant $5m veteran Dickerson, Donovan can start over DeJong, it’s that simple. It’s August, not April.
    Pauly D is still the Cardinals' best defensive option at shortstop, though, and this team is riding a wave of solid pitching that is benefitting from solid defense. I get the rub. I do. But I can also understand why the Cardinals are trying to get to the playoffs with a superb defensive shortstop they hope will be on a hot streak at the plate when that time comes. Donovan isn't rotting away. No position player who can contribute is under Marmol.
    BenFred -

    Around the trade deadline, there was a ton of excitement around the possibility of adding Juan Soto to an already dominant 1-2 punch of Goldy and Arenado. We didn't make the trade, but we did get that offensive supercharge in the form of an unprecedentedly hot Albert Pujols. While everyone is dreaming of him hitting HR #700, I'm more excited for what his contributions mean for our World Series chances.

    It would be unreasonable to expect him to continue to lead the league in OPS through the end of the season and the playoffs, but do you see him as being a difference maker in a playoff run?
    Of course. No southpaw wants to pitch to him. No manager either. Three-batter minimum and DH makes Pujols a huge postseason X-factor.
    I have never made $10 million a year, but if I did, I would hope that I would show up for work on a consistent basis. Late to spring training for “personal reasons”, rehabbing in Puerto Rico for “personal reasons”, ducking work to attend a party for his basketball team give the impression that winning a baseball championship isn’t his top priority. You expressed your views nicely in your article, I just wanted mine on the record.
    Before DeWitt greenlights any contract extensions, free agent signings, or trades this winter he needs to hire a PR consultant. They struggle mightily with the timing and execution of discretion, transparency, and media spin. Just look at the last 10 months: Schildt's firing, Molina's arrival at ST, Flaherty's arm issue, Molina's absence, Flaherty's rehab issue, and now the Molina issue. They have looked silly, unorganized, and under communicated in almost every instance.
    Sorry for the double-post there.
    George, just a note. Molina was not paid during his last trip to Puerto Rico. He was on restricted list for it and that is almost always unpaid. And it was in this case. Just some information that may or may not change how you feel about it. Molina bought the basketball team in 2020, after its last championship. Maybe if his ownership and a previous championship run had crashed into the baseball schedule before he would have done the same thing in previous seasons? I doubt it. I think the catcher has some senioritis, and the team seems to be OK that, which is their choice.
    Steve, winning is the best PR. Always. The Cardinals are being reminded of that now. The Molina thing is a good example. If the team was second in the division, people would have had a much different reaction.
    Can you help me understand all the hand-wringing over Molina taking a couple of days off? Or the persecution of Goldy and Arenado making the personal choice to not get vaccinated (whatever your politics may be, all health matters are THEIR choice to make, not the team's, and certainly not ours).
    There's been a lot of sanctimonious preaching about taking time away during a pennant push. You wrote an entire article about it. You talked about Goldy, Arenado, and Molina "letting their team down" (I believe that was your choice of words). There were comments in The Commish's chat yesterday suggesting Helsley let his team down by being there for the birth of his child. Seriously??? From the reporting in this paper, it sounds like Molina asked for permission from the front office and they granted it. Hasn't he earned that right? Have all of you seriously never called in to work to go play golf, or go fishing, or just goof off? Did your office/company/newspaper fall apart while you were gone? Or did they keep doing what they do, because that's what teams do? I guess when a team is playing well, some people just have to find a new thing to gripe about...
    Of course I wrote a column about it.
    You are free to disagree with the opinion -- it was pretty tame to be honest -- but hopefully you understand why newsworthy topics on a team should be addressed by a columnist who offers an opinion.
    If I wrote about the Cardinals bullpen or something else that day, that would have looked pretty silly, no?
    I've argued Molina is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and will continue to. I've praised him for standing up for St. Louis, for leading the Cardinals, for all kinds of stuff. None of that changes because I chose not to defend this basketball thing. It was a surprising thing to do and it shows where he's at this season, with an eye on what's after this season. 
    The team allowed it. His teammates understand it. The Cardinals are winning, so it's a little thing instead of a big thing. As was mentioned in the column.
    As for Goldschmidt and Arenado, no one persecuted them. At least not here. They're great players and team leaders. They also, like Molina, made a choice that put the individual over the team in that moment. You can agree or disagree with their reasoning but that doesn't change the fact. A lot of people got vaccinated for work purposes when they had hesitation about the vaccine. Baseball players did not have to get vaccinated but guys whose teams had trips to Canada knew they would have to miss if not. They made their decisions. So did Molina. And the team picked them up.
    It's a sign of a good team, and that's the biggest conclusion.
    If I defended Molina, I'd get ripped. If I ripped him, I'd get ripped. I just called it how I saw it, same as with Goldschmidt and Arenado. Two guys can't be heroes for missing games when another guy is a villain, or vice versa.
    Maybe some of you all compare not getting a vaccine or attending a basketball game to welcoming a child into the world.
    I don't.
    We can all have our opinions :) 
    BenFred -

    Is this Montgomery guy forreal or is the an aberration? Looks a whole lot like a guy who could anchor one of the top 2 spots in this cardinals rotation for years to come on current form. Does his past/potential support that outlook?
    That projection seems a bit premature. His past is one of a solid starter in a competitive rotation. If he was believed in the past to be a top-of-rotation guy the Yankees would not have traded him. That doesn't mean he can't find a higher level in a more pitcher-friendly division and a home ballpark that rewards pitchers more than hitters. And don't forget the defense. So, he has a chance to be something bigger and better here. But locking him in as 1 or 2 for years based off four games feels a bit rushed, yes.
    It will be tempting financially to wash-rinse-repeat with O'Neill/Carlson/Nootbaar and sell fans on Walker being close but that is 2015 Cardinals thinking. I know that Oli is selling the "just need to get these guys going" narrative but it is August, if they were going to get going it would have happened already. A burst of production? Sure. Even Bellinger did it last post-season after an awful regular season but that trio is not the long term answer.
    You guys have followed the Cardinals for a long time. And yet many of you continue to make next-season calls immediately after the trade deadline comes and goes. Why? You know and I know the team is going to factor in how things evolve into those plans. And they should. How Montgomery finishes will impact rotation plans. What Paul DeJong does or does not do will impact things. Same for the outfielders, as Nootbaar has proven by taking advantage of his opportunities.
    How do you win a series against Max and DeGrom? What’s the winning formula!?
    Against Scherzer, pray for rain.
    Against DeGrom, figure out a way to get to the bullpen.
    Mets pen has 4.27 ERA since break. Beatable. Then again, Scherzer could be coming out of it in the postseason, too.
    Saw your lead off with the recent records of the Dodgers, Cardinals and Mets. If I recall correctly, the Brewers have a winning record against the red-hot Dodgers in that time frame. Just something to consider, to keep things in balance.
    Brewers are not going to roll over, but they appear to be fading. 8-11 in August, which is the worst month winning percentage they've had this season. 16 percent chance to win division and 40 percent chance to clinch a wild-card, if you trust the FanGraphs math. I don't, but it illustrates the fade (for now).
    A lot is made by the fans in these chats about the Cardinals record against winning teams. Are there any teams with good records against winning teams or does everyone just make hay on the 15-20 teams that aren't all that good?
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