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.

    Still not sure I understand the Donovan and Pujols switch.
    I didn't love it against right-handed starters ... but Pujols did more than Donovan, who went 0-for-7 with no walks and two strikeouts.
    Despite his good to excellent performance over the past 15 years, I'd position Mo with one leg out the door and turn the wheel over to Randy Flores. It seems like it might be time.

    And if we need a new hitting coach, I pray the Cardinals hire Jim Edmonds. That way, I won't have to listen to him on the broadcasts.
    C-Nation flipped quick on Jimmy. His early broadcasts were filled with really great insights. It seems he's become less interested in that kind of commentary as time as gone on. Which is a bummer. Buy stock in Flo.
    Ben to clarify my earlier point about Marmol’s decision on going to Helsley for a 5 out save possibly costing the Cardinals the series victory is the importance of momentum and confidence in playoff baseball. Game 2 should stand on it’s own merits but it’s entirely possible the Cardinals were still reeling from the previous game while the confident Phillies were playing with house money (and a dominant starter). However, I agree 100% with you’re premise about the Cardinals underwhelming offense. It’s tough to win if you can’t score!! Would/could the results been different if Cards hold on and win game one? We will never know. Thanks for chance to comment.
    I hear you, I just don't put much stock in it. The Cardinals won Game 1 of a best-of-three wild-card series against the Padres in 2020 and the bottom dropped out after that. If the Cardinals get the home run Harper hit in Game 2, the page flips from the Helsley stuff pretty fast. I think it cost them the game, not the series. The offense was a dud -- other than Yepez's homer -- in both games.
    What is your rational for saying an upgrade at SS is needed. Edman has a top 10 WAR in the NL. If you move him to 2B, you need plans for Gorman who could give the extra offense as he improves. What would be your scenario for a SS upgrade – who at what price.
    Didn't say it was needed. Said it could be in play. Edman's versatility makes it so. That's a good thing.
    What value is pitch framing with an automatic strike zone. Plenty of catchers are not Yadi. Knisner has always been touted for his hitting with defensive work needed. A backup is needed because the progress of Herrara has not met expectations.
    Automated zone is not coming next season. Knizner's hitting this season produced an adjusted OPS of 75. League average is 100.
    Baseball's over... got in, didn't get hot.

    I'm excited for the Blues season. Defense is lined up from the start. Hated losing Perron, but the Schenn-Barbashev-Neighbours line is going to wear some teams out with their two-way bruising play. The other forward lines will be very good. Onward!
    The stage belongs to the Blues. I'd love to see Thomas and Kyrou get off to hot starts after their big contracts.
    My father was best friends with Dave and Barbara Ricketts for 30 years. Dave taught my daughters (both softball catchers) to never frame a bad pitch. Yadi was the best I've ever seen at
    It physically pains me when I see guys try to frame clear balls. The art is done on the in-between ones, and Yadi did it as well as anyone for a career.
    BenFred -

    I actually don't have a problem with Mo's "Just get in and anything can happen" philosophy. If you look around, the Mets bucked that trend and still wound up in the same spot as the cardinals. In 2,3,4 years the Cardinals will most likely be playing in another wild card series while the Mets go into FULL rebuild mode.

    Even when the Mets/Dodgers strategy works out like it did with the Cubs back in 2016, its still followed with years and years of meaningless baseball unless money isn't a thing to you (which it is in STL).

    What I will say, though, is that in order for Mo's philosophy to be viable and result in teams making it past the opening round of the playoffs, your coaching needs to be elite. TLR Elite. You need to have won the hearts and minds of your players, you need to be able to push your players buttons at the right time in the right way. Marmol looks every bit the rookie manager he is in that regard. I like Marmol, but it seemed clear that both his man management and his game strategy in the playoffs have a LONG way to go before he's capable of making a team more than the sum of its parts when it matters most. His comment before game 2 "If you need to be motivated for this game, then you don't belong in that clubhouse" were so tone deaf and so telling. You know who could have used some motivation for that game? ALL OF THE BATTERS IN THE LINEUP.
    Eh . . . I don't think Mets owner Cohen has plans for tank-and-rebuild approach. And the Dodgers certainly don't. Neither do the Braves, who just extended Strider. Maybe the Padres, but for now they seem determined to keep spending big. I think Marmol for the entirety of the season did what you just said he could not do -- get a better team by using all of the team and knowing when to prioritize certain guys over others. I don't agree with his stance on speeches and motivational messages. I'm a writer; sue me. But that's his leadership style. I think he offers those messages in different ways, in one-on-one conversations and in challenges and compliments to players. He's certainly not afraid to challenge guys and sing their praises when they come through -- or stick up for guys when he thinks they're doing the right things and not getting the results yet. He chafes at the idea of the manager standing up in front of the team and delivering a big speech, or flipping over the lunch table in anger. But hey, I still think there are sometimes when you need to do some version of that. Do the Cardinals find their bats if he does? Probably not.
    I'm new to MLS but am excited to support City. Just how significant is it that the City2 team reached the championship game of their league? I'm interested in any details you can offer. Thanks.
    I think it bodes well for the coaching the team has put in place, the aggressive pressing style the team is playing, and some of of the players that will be making the jump to the big club. Unlike other MLS Next teams this one did not have to deal with the big team poaching players -- like Class AAA in baseball -- throughout the season, so that's something to factor into expectations.
    We return every defenseman (ex Scandella) from a team defense ranked sixth in the league last season. Why doesn't anyone love on the Blues? They're picked 12-15 in most pre-season.
    The Blues never get any national love even when they are loaded. So they're definitely not going to get it now. They lost Perron. They didn't make any breathtaking additions. Their success will be based on current players maintaining and getting better. That can happen! But the talking heads don't find it very sexy.
    Good afternoon Ben and thank you for the chats! Wouldn't it be more plausible that Mo stays away from signing a big name high priced SS with Edman at SS and Donovan at 2nd and Mason Winn knocking at the door?
    2nd question: would a more probably move be signing Joc Peterson or Brandon Nimmo? Either one would be a needed LH bat and Nimmo would help improve the defense.
    A long-term deal for a high-priced shortstop may not be what the Cardinals are looking for.
    A shorter-term one? Perhaps.
    Cards could look like a nice fit for a proven SS who wants a prove-it deal, if there is a match to be made there.
    But Cardinals could go lots of different ways on their shopping list.
    Rotation could use strikeouts. Catcher gap is obvious. Outfield is up in the air. Anything but first base and third could be in play, thanks to the versatility of the returning guys.
    BenFred, I counted 4-5 times in Game 2 where Edman, Yepez, and Goldy, of course, could have taken a walk if they did not swing at balls outside the zone. Plate discipline is lacking. Can’t Albert emphasize that more?
    The Cardinals this season were pretty much a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of chase rate. They swung at pitches outside of the zone 33.1 percent of the time, which ranks right around the middle of MLB. Their best offensive stretches came when hitters, collectively, were doing a good job of forcing pitchers to the zone and then punishing strikes. In the postseason, they got a little out of whack, as evidenced by those examples you mentioned. There were signs of the dreaded pressing, along with very good Phillies pitching.
    BenFred -

    Based on what you've seen from them, do you see the abject failure that Arenado and Goldschmidt displayed at the plate in that playoff series as a trend? Is it something they've shown time and time again in those playoff/high leverage situations? Or is it just one of those freak things?
    With Goldschmidt it looked more like a continuation of his big chill that started in the final month of the regular season, more so than something postseason-related. He's had good postseason performances before.
    With Arenado there is a still small but growing sample size of him not performing very well at the plate in the postseason. That's going to be a big storyline the next time he enters them. He's now averaging .152 with a .143 on-base percentage and a .242 slugging percentage over 33 career postseason at-bats. He's got nine strikeouts, no walks and one home run in those games. Hasn't hit a postseason homer since 2017 wild-card with the Rockies.
    Illinois Football is ranked! Do you think that they turned the corner under Bielema or just building at a quicker pace?
    Big Bert has Illini rolling. They are winning at the line of scrimmage. That's not a fluke. Good hire.
    By the start of next season Goldschmidt will be more than halfway to 36 years old. How concerned (and the Cardinals) are you with his noticeable decline in production due to his advancing age?
    He was the best hitter in the National League through September and is probably going to win NL MVP convincingly despite a pretty cold September.
    It would be an overreaction, I think, to say he displayed a decline in production this season.
    He produced like a create-a-player for most of the season then hit a tailspin at a terrible time.
    The Cardinals should look at how that can be prevented, whether it's a little more rest, a few more days at DH.
    Am I naive to see signs of improvement with Mizzou? The Auburn loss left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, but if you would have said on Sept. 1 Mizzou would have have lost to GA and FLA by only combined 11 points, I would have been thrilled.
    They're not that far off. Cut down on self-inflicted errors and they would have an encouraging record. Three consecutive losses by a combined 14 points. All with chances to win the game late. Fumble at goal line. Missed chip-shot field goal. Two terrible penalties against Georgia. One of the worst pick-sixes you will see at Florida. Cut out a few of those and it's a different story. I'm not sure if that's encouraging or discouraging but I can see taking the optimistic view. I do think Eli needs to consider playing the kid (Sam Horn) against Vanderbilt. He's got a bye week to prep for it. Could be a good time. Unless he is convinced the young man simply is not physically read for SEC play as a freshman.
    Ben: was at game Sat night. Anyone else see Phillies catcher JT start running off the field after Goldy K in bottom 8? Seems like he lost track of the number of outs (2, not 3). Too bad he didn’t toss the ball into the dugout.
    Yep. Bonkers moment. What if he tossed it to a fan?!
    Hi Ben, really enjoy your column. I have read your and your colleagues' analysis on all things sports, but I hope to ask some questions that you use that, and maybe your gut, to answer what you believe
    1. Does another terrible postseason performance cause the Cards brass to up their game this off-season?
    2. Does Waino come back?
    3. Are the Blues young guns ready to carry the team?
    4. Is Bennington going to be the consistent star backstop the team needs?
    5. Is postseason tourney bid a fair expectation for Mizzou hoops?
    6. Is Drink the guy for Mizzou football?
    7. Is SLU going to be as good as we think in hoops this year?

    Well that is quite a bit, huss wondering what you thought. Thanks
    1. It should. They have a growing championship drought and money to spend.
    2. I lean toward yes today.
    3. Getting there but right now it's still Ryan O'Reilly's team and that's why the Blues need to bring him back after this season.
    4. He will have some ups and downs again but they will be more minor and we know he has a track record of playing big when it matters most.
    5. Gates' first group of Tigers making the NCAA Tournament would be a massive success. It can't be a fair expectation in year one. Any other tournament is irrelevant.
    6. Not trending in a great direction at the moment but best option is giving him another year to find out.
    7. Yes. Billikens win A-10 championship this year and make an NCAA Tournament run. It's time.
    I respectfully disagree with your point that "there's no real need to beat up on them" in respect to Arenado and Goldschmidt. These are your highest paid players. They're the leaders of your team. They came up to bat after players in front of them did their jobs and got on base when their team was trailing in a playoff series we were expected to walk away with. They showed no plate discipline, they showed no poise, and they struck out more often than not. You can draw a direct line from their failures to the team's failures. Management and the coaching staff have a responsibility to hold these guys accountable. You don't let their god awful performance get swept under the rug and forgotten about. Look at film and talk through every pitch of every one of their at bats in the playoffs. Talk through the moment, the context, the expectations you have of them, and how they fell short. Make them uncomfortable. Make them look reality in the eyes. Beat up on them. Make sure this never happens again.
  • Nolan Arenado was crying in the clubhouse.
    Paul Goldschmidt looked like he was physically ill.
    I promise they don't need to have it explained to them that they let the team and city down.
    I only just saw that the L.A. Times reported Albert Pujols will honor his personal services contract with the Angels. There's a lot of confusion about these contracts--confusion I share in. How will this limit him? After this joyous reunion, are we about to not see Albert Pujols for another ten years at Busch Stadium?
    Can I be honest? I'm ready to stop hearing and reading about the personal services contract. The LA times story quotes an anonymous source. I mean, come on.  Albert is going to be able to be around as much as he likes. That's his call. He can decline the 10-year, $10 million if he likes. If he wants to accept it, it's up to him and the Angels to figure out what that looks like -- and what it prevents between him and the Cardinals. Nothing I've ready has provided any details on any of that. And it sounds like the Angels don't even know what they want of him.
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