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 week is off to a strong start. Bold prediction to start today: Albert Pujols will hit 700 before next week's chat. I think he gets there during this homestand. Much to discuss. Reports of a Jordan Kyrou extension are swirling. Mizzou laid an egg in Manhattan. Cards back in town for a clash with Brewers starting tonight. Another successful Ascension Charity Classic in the books. Fire away.
    Ben thanks for your chats. Another year of Mazzu football irrelevance! I can’t stand it it’s like Groundhog Day every year! Drake needs an offensive coordinator with a brilliant mind. He doesn’t have it.
    Fans calling for Drinkwitz to hire an offensive coordinator are ignoring the obvious. Drinkwitz was hired because he was labeled as a bold and creative offensive mind and play-caller. Now, I'm not saying that label was correct. But if he can't do that job, why is he a head coach in the SEC? That's the bigger question. Calling for an OC hire is a quiet way of calling for a head coaching change. If you want that, just call for that instead.
    Good morning, Mr. Frederickson. Thank you for your time and the chat. I asked this question to Mr. Goold, and I'd like to get your opinion as well: To what do you attribute Pujols' resurgence in the second half of this season? When Pujols signed in the spring, I figured it would be more of a last farewell, celebratory move, and that 700 homers was out of his reach. But, Pujols has surprised me with his production. For instance, if not for his two homers this past weekend, the Pirates likely sweep the Cardinals. Guys who are 42 years old aren't supposed to be hitting like this.
    He's not just a guy. Especially not here. He's one of the best to ever do it. And he's always had a knack for ascending to the big moment. Most of his decline in California was based around his health. But part of it had to be his lack of a stage, and his lack of meaningful seasons in terms of playoff relevance. He worked himself into really good shape this offseason and showed up at spring looking slim and trim and strong. That has paid dividends. His feet felt good enough to allow that. The All-Star game should not be overlooked. When he was named, I figured a surge was coming. And it did. He got celebrated by his peers at the game and derby. It stoked the fire. Pujols and St. Louis are a special match. Some of it is magic. It's OK to admit that, even in an analytics-obsessed baseball world.
    Is "speedster" DeLuzio in serious consideration for a playoff spot especially with two players very slow of foot in Molina and Pujols?
    Sure. He's one of the fastest players in baseball at the moment, and Pujols and Molina are two of the slowest (no offense; just facts). He also brings a high-level defense to center. The Cardinals' internal metrics project him to be Bader-like defensively. If Carlson isn't an every-day player, CF defense is a bit suspect. He can help there, and he has. The bat is a big question. He just needs to find a way to get on base as much as possible. His speed can take him from there. He's fun to watch after that. Looks like he's getting pulled around the bases by a speedboat.
    I have followed Mizzou football for a very long time, Sat was one of the worse moments in recent memory. Drink is a decent recruiter , a great rah rah guy, a in incredible human. He is a horrible game day offensive OC. He needs like a lot of head coaches do a great OC, he needs to be the CEO. The concern was we can't get the ball to our play makers, with the lack of a QB and no imagination in play calling this is happening. I knew that we wouldn't win maybe 5 games but I really thought we would be so much better. I hope Burden is getting a lot of NIL money, because in this offense his talents are wasted. He will leave. I read in many places the defense went from historical bad to poor, so maybe they can get to average. I have also read Drink must win 5 games to keep his job , I only see 3 wins. The new AD is very motivated , to make Mizzou sports competitive, she didn't hire Drink , and I don't think she will sit by if this program becomes a dumpster fire. She might tell him he must hire a OC. Sorry for the long statement but me and hundreds of Mizzou fans are very disappointed.
    To me, it was the most deflating Mizzou loss since Barry Odom's second Tigers team got embarrassed 35-3 by Purdue at home in Game 3 of 2017. That one came during what became a five-game losing streak that then flipped into a six-game winning streak before a bowl-game loss to Texas. Those Tigers got better as the season went along and proved they could take the early lumps and improve because of it. These ones now have to do the same, and it's in year three for Drinkwitz, not two. Another bad one on Drinkwitz's watch was the 66-24 thumping by Tennessee at home last season. The Tigers didn't lose back-to-back games after that and made a bowl game, where they lost to Army. So, teams can rally but eventually these kind of losses need to be behind a program and a coach. Losses happen. Bad losses happen. Losses where you don't look like you belong out there should not happen very often in year three, and not at all beyond that.
    I mentioned the OC narrative earlier. Drinkwitz's offensive chops and play-calling are why Mizzou hired him. If the can't deliver in those categories, the question should not be about if he needs an OC. It should be about if he can be an SEC head coach.
    The Luther Burden transfer mania should calm down. Two things can be true. He needs more touches, sure. But he also played poorly Saturday. He has things he needs to improve, too. Too many drops. And he has apparently not convinced coaches he can return punts, which is an element to his game that is not being used until he can get on the field there to show it off.
    I think year four is the big one for Drinkwitz, not this one. But more losses like Saturday can expedite the chatter. I thought Cuonzo Martin deserved another season and look how that turned out. Reed-Francois made the trip to Manhattan. I doubt she was impressed with the performance.
    The Cardinals seem to perennially have one player who had an explosion of production over a short period (Carp’s two months in 2018, DeJong’s 1H in 2019, Flaherty’s 2H 2019, etc.) but since that run the arrow has been pointing down. Yet the team continues to blindly support this player, often elevating them into positions where they do not belong. For Jack Flaherty that would be the post-season rotation… at least as of today. I think we need to see more than just appearances from Jack for this to change, we need to see real results not just positive trends.
    The Cardinals haven't named a postseason rotation. What happens until they have to will influence decisions, as always. Could Flaherty be a part of it? Yep. He could also get hurt his next time out. Or his performance could not be what was expected. Same for any pitcher. The Cardinals monitor everything up until the moment they have to make the call. Anything else is premature.
    Watching the Mizzou game against K-state it appears that the offense needs to throw the ball down field instead of the short dunk offs, either Drink's offense doesn't have the quarterback to get it down field or it isn't in the offensive game plan.
    Mizzou tried to take more shots deep in the second half. That's when the four consecutive interceptions came. Also, the offensive line play was pretty terrible Saturday, which limited the ability to run and pass. You can have the deepest playbook in the world but if you can't stop a rush, you can't open lanes and give your QB much time. Mizzou's best offensive plays were usually Cook finding success with his legs as he ran around for his life. I know no one likes talking about line play, but it was the biggest problem Saturday. Not play-calling. And that's not an excuse for Drinkwitz. Every part of the offense is under his umbrella, and he recruits linemen, too.
    Keeping DeJong beyond this season makes no sense to me, even if they must pay for a portion of his contract to move him. If they ate $3m it would still free up $6m. $6m was the difference between signing Matz and signing Rondon last winter. For a team hellbent on sticking to their own self-imposed salary cap $6m is a big deal.
    DeJong looked like a good change-of-scenery candidate before his return from Memphis, and his burst upon arrival was short-lived. I agree with you that it would probably be best for both player and team to find a way to move on. How the Cardinals handle shortstop next season is going to be pretty interesting, with Masyn Winn on the rise. Maybe a short-term contract with a more proven player would make sense. It would have made sense this past offseason. Maybe Edman can handle it full-time in the Cardinals' eyes now. He has made 62 starts now and logged more than 500 innings at the position this season. His Defensive Runs Saved at short, per FanGraphs, is six runs above average. Pretty good. The worries about Edman handling shortstop were overdone, as noted here at the time.
    Go Albert? Where does he end up? 704?
    To the back of the napkin for some math.
    He's got 18 homers in 90 games played this season.
    That's an average of 0.2 per game.
    Cardinals have 21 games left starting tonight.
    That's 4.2 homers if he just continues this pace.
    I'll call it 5 and say he winds up with 23 on the season and 702 for his regular-season career.
    Hey Ben! Is Carlson just a slightly better version of Piscotty? Piscotty. 2.0?
    I think he's better and is still going to have a good career.
    Lots of Cardinals fans leaving the Carlson train this season.
    I'll sit tight for now.
    Selling short on a promising 23 year old is not something I'm interested in at this time.
    Drinkwitz now needs a big signature win to save his job, doesn’t he?
    I don't think so. But he needs to avoid more messes like the K-State game if he's going to keep such speculation from stirring.
    It was really an eye-opener to see Missouri get man-handled by K State. Based on the recruiting rankings over that past four years, Missouri should have been the dominant team. Even Barry Odom recruited better than Kris Kleiman and Bill Snyder. What happened, and how bad is it going to get before Mizzou starts making progress?
    I guess you missed the Pinkel era. Recruiting rankings don't equal wins. Recruiting well helps, of course. Developing is always going to be a bigger factor for success, especially at places like Kansas State and Missouri are never going to stack up five-star talent like Alabama and some others. Drinkwitz's recruiting prowess is for now tied to class rankings and stars assigned, but if that doesn't develop -- emphasis on develop -- give way to strong classes on the field and stars on game day, it's just noise.
    Going to Centene for City2 Sunday night? I will be there, looking forward to checking the place out.
    I'll be at the ballpark but we will have it covered, yep. Did you score a pair of the new shoes that dropped today? Kind of a cool thing for sneaker heads. A custom City edition shoe that won't be shipped. You have to pick it up at the team merch store. Kind of neat.
    I'm very interested in the Flaherty situation. Say he finishes the year healthy, starts a playoff game and is so so down the stretch ( 4.25 ERA ). 1) Do you think they will offer him a long term deal, say 7/150 million ( Berrios like )? 2) Do you think Flaherty would take it? 3) He's averaging 110 inn/yr after removing the 2020 year, wouldn't it be better to let someone else dream on a healthy Jack for the 1 year remaining and take the decent return? Even peak Jack is not in the top 15% of starters. The Cards need an ace at some point and he's not an ace, no matter how much ink has been spilled saying he was going to be. Thanks for your time.
    I wouldn't rush anything. He's under contract control for another season. If he pitches well and stays healthy for the bulk of 2023, you could see if he's interested in extension talks and still get first crack at it before free agency arrives. Maybe he would be. Maybe not. It's hard to read Flaherty these days. There has been enough friction between the front office and Flaherty over recent seasons to see both sides agreeing on his value at this point, especially after his injuries, being a reach. And perhaps it is. But I don't think the Cardinals should rush a long-term agreement without him proving he can be effective and healthy for the bulk of a season since these latest shoulder issues. Your second-to-last line is odd to me. Flaherty absolutely was on the emerging ace track before the shoulder problems derailed him. Are you denying that? Injuries happen. No one is saying he's an ace right now, and he has to prove he can maintain his health before that can even be considered.
    I’m concerned about the Cardinals starting pitching in the playoffs. You can’t give up three or four runs in the first three or four innings and win those kind of games usually. The Cardinals need to stopper like Chris Carpenter he was the difference maker in the 2011 World Series run And Flarity isn’t it Despite the happy talk About him being such. He’s just not around enough
    That Jordan Mongtomery guy has been pretty good.
    Maybe include him in your postseason pitching plans.
    Old Big 8 question for you. Who do you think Nebraska hires to replace Scott Frost? Thanks.
    They should go hard for Mark Stoops at Kentucky.
    He is the Gary Pinkel of the bluegrass.
    He recruits the area well, is having the kind of season that is easy to sell and is probably tired of Coach K saying dumb stuff about Kentucky being just a basketball school.
    It will cost but Nebraska can spare no expense.
    Mikolas and Waino look tired. With an 8 game lead in the Central and with some more series against the Reds and the Pirates why would we not look at giving those two a start off to rest up for the playoffs?
    The Cardinals can and I think will sneak some rest in for those two workhorses. But you also have to trust them and listen to what they need. Wainwright, for example, wants to pitch through some of this mechanical stuff he's working on and seems to think at least for now it's best to do it in live games. You monitor it and don't hesitate to find them a skipped start if it is deemed beneficial, especially if the chance of chasing down the NL No. 2 spot fades.
    Morning Ben, Have you heard any news lately of changing the Busch stadium outfield wall configuration this offseason?
    No. They talked about it this past offseason but tabled it and I don't think it's coming back. Turns out homers are not impossible to hit at Busch, and certain players have modified their swings some to seek them. So you probably wouldn't want to go messing with it now.
    Just commenting to mention that STL City shoes ARE available for shipping if purchased out of app and directly on adidas.com. Thankfully, non local supporters can represent too.
    My bad. Updated info here below.
    Do you think Albert will get some down ballot MVP votes for what he's done for the Cardinals this season?
    Seems like a reach. He's at 1.4 WAR. The top-50 MLB players this season are all 4+. I'm not saying WAR leads all, but that's just a quick snapshot. Pujols was correctly invited to the All-Star game, but it was for his career, not this season. His second half has been awesome, and part of the reason is because of the limited role he has been used in, one that has expanded some as he's caught fire. It's without a doubt one of the best stories in baseball this season. Perhaps the best. But it's not an MVP season.
    Does this team have too many eggs in the Wainwright basket as far as him being our post-season ace? I love Waino, who doesn't, but he really has not matched up well with playoff teams this year and his road record vs playoff teams is rough.
    You need multiple solid starts to win a postseason series. Wainwright will be asked to be a part of that picture. He doesn't have to carry it. The Cardinals' strength is their depth of pitching, and that can't change in the postseason. Also, and again: Jordan Montgomery has been really stinking good.
    Significant Blues news from JT: 

    Blues' Jordan Kyrou signs 8-year, $65 million contract extension

    Blues' Jordan Kyrou signs 8-year, $65 million contract extension

    STLtoday.comThe terms match the contract signed by teammate Robert Thomas two months ago.
    At this point why not start Horn the rest of the year? He is the future. Do you think he will start a game in the near future, or is Drink too loyal to his players to replace Cook?
    Horn is one of Drinkwitz's players. If anything, the loyalty should be to Horn over Cook, who was not a Drinkwitz recruit. Drinkwitz is starting Cook because he thinks he gives the team the best chance to win right now. I asked Drinkwitz if he considered playing Horn against Kansas State. He said no, and quickly. It suggested to me he does not think the true freshman is ready yet. We'll see if that changes as he gets more practices. Continued QB troubles could also expedite the timeline toward a why-not try. But he has to be physically ready. You can do real damage starting a just out of high school QB in the SEC, and remember Horn was not on campus early like some are these days.
    I don’t understand the rationale in keeping Abrams-Draine in to return kickoffs and punts. He looked hesitant to do anything other than let the ball go. Wasn’t Peat one of the best in the country as a kick returner last year? And aren’t we trying to find ways to get the ball in Burden’s hands? Bad performance all around, but Special Teams was just as bad as our offense with the exception of Mevis.
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