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

    Greetings chatters. Hope no one is napping at work after that late hockey game. Binnington did his best to steal it. He's gonna need more help. Cards are back in town tonight against the Pirates. Eli Drinkwitz keeps grabbing notable recruits from in-state. Plenty to discuss. Let's roll.
    The Cardinals are not as good as their records suggest because of playing bad teams. They have a fine core of stars but the supporting cast is questionable at best. The bench players are horrendous . Have you ever seen a bench were not one is hitting above .210? Time for moe to trade a future star For some support now.
    Cheer up, B. The Cards bench is not going to be labeled the best in baseball, that's for sure. Those pinch-hitters are also producing a middle-of-the-back OPS in the National League. Compared to the Cubs' pinch-hitters who are slashing .169/.319/.186 the Cardinals bench looks a lot better. What has helped the Cards' pinch-hitters more than anything is their NL leading .357 on-base percentage. They don't do much damage up there, but they can get on base, which allows one of the regulars to drive them in. There will probably need to be some bench maintenance as the season progresses. A future star would not be put on the bench.
    Yikes! Another batter hit in the face last night. Don't want to overreact to recent news, but a trend is forming of completely out of control fastballs. Should the metrics guys maybe rethink their marriage to "Velo" and "Spin Rate", and start looking for an even keeled relationship with location and command? At some point the excuse of "It wasn't intentional" becomes very hollow.
    Guys have been trying to throw it as hard as they can long before radar guns showed up at the ballpark. The metrics can't be blamed for falling in love with velocity. I think like anything else, if given time and not tampered with by rule changes, things will sort themselves out. Guys will learn there is a more sustainable, effective way to pitch -- not just throw -- and they will make some changes if they want to stick around. Or go down in a short blaze of glory. Some, the really good ones, can do both. Don't forget the ball has changed, and the league made a big deal about wanting to cut back on the adhesive substances pitchers had been using to get grips on balls. I think some of this is related to that.
    Watching Binnington last night took me back to the 1968 expansion Blues in the finals vs the juggernaut Canadians. Glenn Hall stood on his head all 4 games losing 3-2,1-0, 4-3 and 3-2 w 2 overtime games. He was awarded the Conn Smythe despite the Blues not winning a game.
    Great callback. Hall is one of just five Conn Smythe Trophy winners who won the award after losing in the Cup Final: Roger Crozier (1966), Glenn Hall (1968), Reggie Leach (1976), Ron Hextall (1987) and Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003).
    Thinking back to last nights game Paranko played 24 minutes but I hardly remember him on the ice. I'm sure he's giving everything he has but in the past 2 years he dominated in all zones especially rushing the puck up and out of the defensive end. His return to full health is the key to the Blues returning to being a top team.
  • He hasn't had more than three hits in the past 10 games, or more than three blocks in the past 13. Has scored just one goal since late January. It's been pretty clear for a while now that he's doing the best he can but that he's not at his best physically. I agree with you that they are a different team when he's limited. Defense suffers.
    Thank you great chats, Ben! The Cardinals will soon encounter the use of the DH when they play in AL Parks in interleague play. Also, it is likely the DH is coming to the NL in 2022. Are the Cardinals looking for that bench bat that can morph into the DH role in both 2021 and 2022? Would Nolan Gorman be considered for that role or does starting his MLB clock hinder his chances?
    Gorman has just 12 games beneath his belt in Class AA so far this season, so that role is a bit out of reach for him right now. Could he be there in the relatively near future? Sure, if he keeps climbing like he has. Most seem to think the DH is all but a certainty after this season. A strike or work stoppage might happen in between; hopefully not. But when it is settled, teams would be wise to make sure they are not treating the DH spot as a spare part. Good teams will maximize it. It should help the Cardinals in the future, considering they have some important and highly paid position players (Goldschmidt, Arenado) who hit big and could age into the spots if their defense and or health begins to decline later in their careers. For now, though, the Cards will likely get those reps when they come up to guys like Matt Carpenter, maybe Lane Thomas or the one they had eyed at the start, who is now healthy and hitting: John Nogowski.
    Hola Ben. I am wondering if you can shed some light on what Little League, High School, College, and Minor League systems all of our pitchers played for that they now need to have the importance of Strike 1 emphasized at the Major League level. Like.... how did they get here not understanding this? And if they did already know this (of course they already knew this) then why are Schildt / Maddux talking about this as an education issue and not an execution issue?
    I don't think Shildt -- there's no c in the name -- or Maddux have said their pitchers don't know the importance of getting ahead. Knowing and doing are different things. That's why every coach in every sport has gray hair, or less hair, because of the job. The Cardinals are throwing MLB's lowest percentage of first-pitch strikes. The first pitch from a Cardinals pitcher is a strike just 54.9 percent of the time. The Dodgers, at the top of the list, are throwing a first-pitch strike 63.1 percent of the time. It makes a huge difference. The success of a hitter who starts 0-1 is significantly lower than a hitter who starts 1-0. The Cardinals pitchers know these things. Education is not the problem. Execution is. The Cardinals have not suggested otherwise. And no, that does not mean the pitching coach is absolved of helping his pitchers fix the problem. That's his job.
    Shame on all the Blues fan who repeatedly bashed Jay Bouwmeester up to the cup. The team really misses him now. He was brought back too soon from an injury in the first half of 18-19 and he and the team struggled. It's no coincidence that the teams play improved throughout the run to the cup as his health improved. Shouldn't the Blues priority moving forward to next year is find another LH D like him?
    Niko Mikkola would like a word.
    Bo and Blues fans made up. Both sides looked very happy at the parade, and he was a big part of it happening.
    BenFred, I am very nervous about our walks and our control. Wasn’t something done this year about substances being used on the ball? Could that be impacting us? We aren’t the only team to lose a pitch towards a hitters face...see Pillar last night.
    I'm starting to think baseball might cool it on making the sunscreen and pine tar pitchers "sneak" out to the mound not as big of an emphasis on cracking down. At this rate hitters might ask the league to stop making it a focus point. Better than getting hit in the teeth. I'm not sure how much the change has effected the Cardinals. That is a good question for a clubhouse setting, where guys can talk off the record. That's not an option at this point. But hopefully some in-person interviews are going to be back soon at Busch. Zoom is better than nothing but certain topics can't be gripped there. Get it? :)
  • Carpenter has hit three 3-run HRs this season. Here is what his numbers look like before and after each of the HRs:
    1-for-14 (4 BBs)
    HR vs Washington
    1-for-25 (2 BBs)
    HR vs Philadelphia
    HR vs Pittsburgh
    2-for-21 (5 BBs)
    His average, less the HRs, is .080 with zero extra base hits. My point is that his usage rate, as the Edman-handcuff and the first man off the bench most nights, is very high given this production. The team/manager seem to be putting a ton of equity into three swings.
    He's ninth on the team in at-bats and will be at least 10th once Bader gets further removed from his delayed start due to injury. The only non-pitchers with fewer at-bats than Carpenter are the backup catcher (Knizner) and the defense-first utility infielder (Sosa). Justin Williams, the other left-handed option off the bench, has 15 more at-bats than Carpenter so far.
    Carpenter is left handed and can play multiple positions in the infield if someone gets hurt -- like Paul DeJong did recently. And he has the contract the Cardinals are not willing to cut ties with at this time. So, that's the role for now. I see his opportunities as being ones given to the role as much as ones given based on what he's done in it. If it gets to the point that the Cardinals decide they can't compete with him in the role, there's really only one option left, and it would be paying him to walk. They're not ready to do that yet and might not be at any point this season. Part of that is they might not have someone who can do it any better. Yet Carpenter will remain the most analyzed bench player in baseball.
    BenFred I realize that vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a private and personal decision. But I hope for DP57’s sake he was vaccinated and then was just unlucky enough to test positive. Otherwise it would look very selfish of him. The Blues could certainly use their best scorer in this series. Your thoughts? Thanks
    He has not explained what happened, and neither has the team. I've learned to wait until that happens before deciding how I feel. Lots of people got bent out of shape about Wainwright appearing on the COVID list, but didn't know the story. So, I'll await Perron's explanation if he ever gives one. If he doesn't, then what does that say? A player on a pro team who declines to get vaccinated for COVID is making a decision that hurts the team, because the player could be lost for a stretch due to the virus. It's a simple as that. It's a team-first decision for pro players to protect the health of the team and to protect their availability as a player. It would be unfortunate, yes, IF that is what happened. And terrible timing.
    How does Shildt not alter the rotation in order to have Flaherty on the bump on Friday? That seems like a huge oversight to waste a Flaherty start on the Pirates.
    It's May, Tack. You don't shred your pitching schedule for the sake of a matchup in May. Guys have their spot in the order. You let it roll.
    Hey Ben, thanks as always for the chats! After last night's game, what are the odds the Blues can at least make this a competitive series? Not a knock on the Blues, but I was taken aback by the talent gulf between the two sides last night. This Avalanche team, when fully healthy, is one of the most stacked teams I've seen in recent memory.
    It looked competitive last night, thanks mostly to Jordan Binnington.
    If he keeps playing like that the Avalanche won't win easy.
    Question for the Blues is going to be where the offense comes from.
    I don't think Binnington is going to be much help there.
    Yes, Colorado is stacked. Most picked them to win the Cup. Or Vegas. Winner very well could come out of the West. Blues are trying to spoil the party. It got a lot harder after last night's loss.
  • Last year there was a planned giveaway of a Kolten Wong gold glove bobble head. BenFred. I need this to add to my collection. Are they planning to still give these away or have these found their way to the dumpster?
  • I can find out. Check back next week.
    Any teams obvious sellers? Twins? I believe Nationals will hold on a little longer given the turnaround they did in 2019.
    Twins (13-26) would be an interesting one.
    Nelson Cruz as NL pinch-hitter or AL DH at the deadline?
    Rangers (19-24) is one to watch.
    Joey Gallo is going to get plenty of buzz if that trend continues.
    Too early to say on the Nats. Too early to say on all of these, honestly and obviously. But the Nats are only four games back.
    The Rockies stink and have a new GM. More moves there would not surprise me, but the Cardinals landing Trevor Story would surprise me, before that gets off and running in the chat.
    Watching Kim the other night was great, until it suddenly wasn't. The pace that he works at is refreshing, especially when it seems like guys take their sweet time more than ever, both on the mound and especially at the plate...
    I would not be surprised if more teams start messing with that pace by calling time and stepping out of the box. It seemed to be an approach that nudged him off course a little bit last time out.
    Do we have any SS in our system even remotely close to being ready to compete at the MLB level? I can’t imagine Paul Dejong ever gets above .230 average. Probably will hit 30 homers and sure he plays above average defense. But what if he was hurt long term? What if he gets even worse at the plate? Rondon (Rodon?) had an exciting spring and Delvin Perez has the exciting name but are either of them or any SS a high ranked prospect?
    Tommy Edman can play shortstop; the guy seems to be able to do anything.
    MLB.com ranks Masyn Winn as the team's No. 5 prospect. He's a pitcher and a shortstop.
    Delvin Perez (No. 30) is climbing that list now that he's figured some things out; I know some have prospect fatigue with him but I'd remember he's only 22 years old.
    Minor league team have some games in the books. Who has impressed in the short amount of games?
    Jordan Walker is clobbering the ball for Palm Beach. Three doubles, a triple and two homers in 34 at-bats. Bonkers exit velocity readings. Definitely impressive.
  • With the Grizzlies season beginning, how would that change the workday for the Cardinals stationed there? Does it have any effect on moves by the front office since the Minor Leagues are back up this year?
    The minor leagues are up and running now. The alternate site was mostly just a placeholder until that happened. Taxi squad will continue, but the alternate site is no longer a need with the Class AAA season in motion.
    Ben any late word on Tyler O’Neill’s availability for tonight’s game?
    You all will know as soon as we do. 
    If the finger sprain is still causing problems, they could give him days off between the off days for a nice little break without an injured list stint.
    Didn't sound too serious after Sunday's game, but as always, better to wait and see than believe injury optimism.
    The Blues are best when they are pounding checks and camping in the other teams zone. It was almost the exact opposite last night as Bennington was under constant attack. What do the Notes need to do to swing the momentum to to the other end of the ice?
    I don't think there is a big secret beyond, just keep pounding. Keep building the physicality over the course of a best-of-seven and hope it has an effect. It has on other teams in the past. That, and don't give Colorado anything easy. Suffocate power play chances. Minimize turnovers. Stop the odd-man rushes that helped feed the waves of Avalanche offense last night. All easier said than done against a team this fast and skilled. The game was tied 1-1 30 second into the third but it would have been over much faster if Binnington was not great. If he can replicate that, and it won't be easy, the Blues have a chance. But they have to do somethin to disrupt Colorado's flow, and they have to find a way to score. They need more bodies in front of the net hunting deflections and second and third scoring chances. They won't beat Colorado at Colorado's game.
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