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

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live 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 everyone is doing well, or at least better than the Blues.
    I left for spring training and it was cold and gray.
    I got back home from Cincinnati, and it's perfect.
    I'll take it.
    Plenty to discuss this week.
    By the end of this chat perhaps we will be able to name 1/2 of Mizzou's basketball roster.
    Let's ride.
    Hola, Ben. Apologies for all the words and just hoping you take the time to read this one. I was stuck listening to the home feed for one of the games over the weekend on the radio in the car. Jeff Brantley, the color man for the Reds, was fascinating in some of the insights he had into this Cardinals team. The most eye opening was on Martinez. As soon as the Reds got that runner on Brantley said something along the lines of "Carlos has been in his little dream world for the first three innings, but now that there is stress he becomes a different pitcher. His velo is going to go up from 92 / 93 to 96 / 97. Along with that he will begin to elevate everything and will really struggle to locate his breaking pitches for at least the rest of this inning". What proceeded was Martinez's velo increasing, his breaking pitches missing, and him becoming reliant almost entirely on fastballs that were, in fact, elevated. We all know how that played out. So now to the question. If this tendency is such common knowledge around the league, why is it never mentioned by local reporters. All we hear, even in the chat yesterday, are things like "Carlos's stuff looks good". Great. But his stuff looking good is not going to be what determines his success this year. His ability to stay composed in high leverage situations will make that determination. Why is there never talk about how Carlos is, or is not, working on that piece? And I do not ask this to single out Martinez. It would seem this could be said of every player, right? Why not report on the things they are, or are not, doing to improve where it actually matters? I mean, aside from one or two articles about Carp's struggles we just get this steady diet of "he's in the best shape of his life" type stuff.
    I really hope this is some well executed sarcasm.
    The word Carlos Martinez has used most often for years is "focus" and it's only appeared in print about half of the time he's said it, because he says it that much.
    Carlos' stuff has never been his problem.
    It's been his physical health and his mental strength -- whether you call that focus, preparedness, whatever -- that has been the biggest influence on his ups and downs over the years.
    If you don't think that has been covered exhaustively by us, I'm not going to say anything that changes your mind.
    But do me a favor and Google "Carlos Martinez" and "focus" and read away.
    I wish they would teach players to slide feet first when stealing. And I wish players would actually do it whether it’s being taught or not. You see players slide past the bag more times than not when sliding head first. I can understand sliding head first when you need to slide around the catcher and reach for home plate. But for second or third base? Just slide feet first and if they’re blocking the bag they’ll get a spike in their leg and they won’t want to do that again.
    It drives me crazy when a player dives into first base instead of simply running through it.
    Some still thinks it gets them there faster.
    I always ask why we don't see Olympic sprinters diving through the tape then.
    They just run through it.
    Even if it did get them there a millionth of a second faster -- it doesn't -- then it still would not be worth the injury risk.
    Agreed it can make some sense if trying to maneuver around the tag at other bases.
    Seems like RF needs to addressed at some point. And 4 hole hitter to protecr areando
    Here's a statistic that should be interesting to track this season.
    Dexter Fowler: 3-for-15 with no home runs, no walks and five strikeouts.
    Cardinals right fielders: 0-for-14 with no home runs, no walks and nine strikeouts.
    If this keeps up, Lane Thomas will be getting a shot at redemption sooner rather than later.
    Paul DeJong's doing fine in cleanup so far. His two homers are leading the team.
    Easier question to make up for the other one that may have come off as accusatory, which was not my intent... The Cubs and Reds were both largely dismissed as contenders this year due to their pitching. The Cubs and Reds may also be the only two teams in the division with a competitive offense. Given that, which of the two do you think might have the better chance of overcoming their pitching deficiencies over the course of 162 and walking away with the division?
    Accusatory questions are fine by me. I'm just not sure I understand the claim we are not covering Carlos' issues. I've been beating the drum for him to be a reliever for seasons now because of of them. The fact that another broadcast mentioned them is great. Good research and read on their part. But the suggestion those topics are not covered here, I don't get or agree with.
    I like the Reds' pitching a lot more than the Cubs'. I was impressed by the Reds in the season opening series. Castellanos will get some MVP discussion if he keeps hitting like this. I don't think he should have been suspended the two games either. I do think he was deserving of the ejection, but if he's going to have to miss two more games because of that then the Cardinals didn't deserve to get off with just fines. That seemed like an unfair ruling to me.
  • Thoughts on the Castellanos suspension?
    I don't like it.
    Thought he should have been fined and that's all.
    I think the league was trying to make an example out of him because it was the first benches-clearing brawl.
    But if he is the example, I'm not sure how Molina skated without a suspension.
    The umpires have a good relationship with Molina.
    That's why he didn't get tossed after the scrum.
    The umpire knew the contact with him was intentional.
    I didn't expect the league to be so understanding, and am somewhat surprised Molina got just a fine when Castellanos got tossed.
    None of this is defending what Castellanos did to Woodford, either.
    He deserved to be ejected from the game for that silly flex.
    Did the team mentioned the rationale behind a 5 man bench compared to a 4 man bench? With the vocalization of protecting pitchers I feel like another pitcher would be worthwhile? Kodi Whitley please stand up
    If the roster could be changed within the first 10 days I think Whitley would have joined the bunch by now. That's a no-no. Commish had it in his notes today.
  • Nogowski saw time in left field in the spring. Any way we could see a starting OF of O’Neill, Carlson and Nogo?
    If current right-field options keep posting zeroes, we could see it, sure.
    Nogowski has more his than Justin Williams and Austin Dean combined.
    I'll be the first to say I'm not sure what the Cardinals see in Dean
    I know Thomas had a rotten spring, but I would rather see him get those shots.
    In part because he's been a solid pinch-hitter in small sample sizes in the past.
    since its now obvious this blues team has quit on themselves, the whole organization, mostly the loyal blues fans its time to blow this team apart no one should be untouchable
    That seems a bit harsh.
    Agree that the Blues are not giving off a buyer's vibe at the deadline and would not be surprised at all if Army made some future-prioritizing moves or two at the deadline, but blow it all up?
    No thanks.
    The Blues had not had their heaviest hitters on the ice all together at once until, what, last night?
    They've had terrible injury luck.
    I'm not going to just ignore that.
    That said, if Army sees some short-term players (Hoffman, for example) that he can cash in on, go for it.
  • The Blues will miss the playoffs this year for one reason. Poor goaltending. It starts between the pipes and goes out. Are we seeing the real Binnington? Husso is inexperienced but his time in the nets this year will prove beneficial for the future. Patrick Roy’s save percentage was .875 and GAA was 3.36 in his first full season. Husso’s save percentage is .883 and GAA 3.58. I’m not saying Husso is the next Patrick Roy, I’m just saying let’s see how Husso develops before kicking him to the curb. Goalies are a quirky group.
    Not scoring consistently, shaky special teams and a defense that is badly missing a key player in Colton Parayko would also like a seat at the table if we're breaking down the reasons the playoffs seem to be looking like a mirage these days.
    The Blues made a decision entering this season to risk shifting gears from a two proven goalie setup to a clear starter and clear inexperienced backup. They felt that was a move they needed to make because of their faith in Binnington, their belief in Husso and perhaps most importantly their cap situation and how it would be affected in years to come because of the pandemic. The two proven goalie system is now a luxury, and we are seeing how teams have shifted their stances on it as a result. I don't think they're going to bail on Husso. They do need better from Binnington. His play post contract has not been very reassuring. Putting all of the blame on him though seems a bit unfair to me.
    The new hated Red that shall not be named...Both destroyed Cardinal pitching and was a jerk who started something he didn't seem to have any desire to finish. I'm Ok with giving props and throwing shade at him. I guess I am wondering why blogs, columns, and some radio personalities, and a ton of fans make it seem like it has to be one or the other. Big talent. Big Jerk Move. What is your take?
    The Cardinals could really use a fresh villain. Now they have one in Nick Castellanos. And yes, he's a great villain because he's a great hitter. No one gets fired up about a guy who can't hurt you on the field. He kicked the Cardinals' tail in that series. No ifs and or buts about it.
    Should the cardinals move dejong down in the order to make sure they keep pitching to Nolan.
    I'm not convinced Paul DeJong is the cleanup hitter for the Cardinals all season, no questions asked.
    I think O'Neill could see some time there or perhaps even Carlson; he started there during the playoffs, after all.
    My preference above all would be to have Carlson hit first or leadoff and shift everyone down so Goldschmidt and Arenado are hitting three and four.
    That could happen, too.
    But to answer your question directly, I'm not sure what evidence there has been through the first handful of games or so that says DeJong needs to be moved down?
    Right now he's one of just four major leaguers to have multiple homers from the cleanup spot.
    Ben,

    After 4 games, how do you feel about the outfield so far?
    Kind of what we expected, right? Two obvious starters (for now) in Carlson and O'Neill. The other spot -- and the shifting around it could case -- is very much up for grabs. Makes me wonder if we could see Nogowski get some chances out there, or see Lane Thomas arrive from the taxi squad sooner than some expected.
    Ben, four games down and no surprises early. Simply put, a team anchored with two infield stars has a seemingly perpetual inept outfield and a starting rotation that will scare no one. This team appears to be constructed to compete in the woeful NLCS but not against the four or five elite teams in the NL. Seem about right?
  • I'd like to see the rotation for a few turns -- and with two fifths of its group healthy -- before I label it a group that will scare no one. That seems a bit dramatic, to be honest. The Cardinals will likely need to do some trade-deadline improving of some kind to be a team that is prepared to compete with the best. That seems more than fair. This would be the season for them to do that, not shrink away from it like they have in the past.
  • Porcello/Hamels, do we need them now?
    Kim's going to be back soon. Mikolas should be at some point. Oviedo exists. Ponce pitched pretty well, at least compared to the others in Cincinnati. The Cardinals are OK for now. What they really need is better outings from Flaherty and Wainwright. I think those are fair to expect. I'm not sure there are fair expectations for Martinez anymore. It's a coin flip situation.
    I am a big fan of Alex Reyes and want to see him succeed. Nothing against Jordan Hicks, but what do you think the chances of seeing Reyes stick in the closer role? I think it could be perfect for him and allow him to really finally flourish. Thanks for the chats- you and the PD team do an amazing job! Well worth my subscription cost.
    That sure seems to be the way things are trending so far this season, and I'm good with it. Shildt suggested as much as spring neared its end and the usage of Reyes speaks for itself. Moving forward, I think the Cardinals should follow through and finally give Reyes a chance to start. They bend over backwards time and time again to give Carlos Martinez a chance to prove he's a starter, but they seem to constantly talk themselves out of giving Reyes that same opportunity. The one downside of Reyes dominating as a closer this season would be just that. It's not hard to imagine the Cardinals deciding that is Reyes' role, and keeping him there because of the innings he did not get and the worries they have about him holding up as a starter.
    What moves at the trading deadline would show Arenado the Cards are all in?
    Impossible to say now, but a corner outfielder and a playoff-proven starting pitcher would look like the obvious pieces at the moment. Neither would come cheap.
    Ben, I know it doesn’t look good for the Blues right now getting into the playoffs but a lot can happen in the next couple weeks. I don’t think we need to fire the coach and disassemble the entire team. I think just a few parts need to be tweaked. Personally, I think it’s a locker room issue. Tarasenko’s comments about his disappointment in not being named the captain have left a mark whether you agree or not. The team was playing over its head while it was decimated with injuries. The kids played hard and brought much needed energy to the club. All the regulars are back and healthy and the energy level is gone. The decline started when Tarasenko returned. That’s not conjecture, stats back that up. Hoffman, Sanford, Dunn, Tarasenko and Schwartz all need new homes. The draft picks Army can acquire can be used after the season to go out and get a true goal scorer, and a top 6 defenseman. I wouldn’t give up on Krug so fast. Look at how Faulk did this year compared to last. Mikkola, Walman, Joshua, Walker & Blais are our future. You’ve got Perunovich, Kostin, Alexandrov & Neighbours in the pipeline. The future is bright. You just have to have patience and let the kids develop.
  • I'll need some proof before I agree that this is some chemistry problem that is tied directly to Tarasenko. And I say that as someone who was one of the few, if there were any others, to point out his comments about the captain situation were bad. I got ripped for that, but it is the truth. Complaining about the captain decision -- and that's what it was, complaining -- is something that undermined O'Reilly. Period. The legion of people who believe Tarasenko can do no wrong do not like it when it's pointed out he handled a situation poorly. Maybe now some are a little more willing to see that, but I don't think it's the reason the team has underperformed. The team has been shelled with injuries. It never really got a decent change to mesh. It looks like a team that reflects those qualities. Expectations were very likely too high for Tarasenko's performance post-surgery. The Blues are 2-8-4 since Tarasenko returned. He's been a minus-8 player through 14 games. What Army has to decide is if Tarasenko is this player now, or if there is a higher level of play still there after he has more time removed from the injury. If Army believes Tarasenko doesn't have that other gear he used to have, it could be wise to see if another team thinks he does. One thing we have learned about Armstrong is that he doesn't let feelings get in the way of a move he thinks will help his team now and later.
  • Hey Ben! Feel free to not respond to this, but I truly hope you and the rest of the Post Dispatch team are able to get vaccinated very soon. I'm sure it has been difficult for you all to do your jobs over the past year. We appreciate the work you all have done and I hope you all have a safe season. And, a tip of the cap to you for kicking my rear in the bracket challenge! I did beat Derrick though (barely...).

    My question this week: I know it's early, but I just don't feel like this is Yadi's last season. He's still pulling a Benjamin Button, and I think he comes back again next year. What about you? Thanks for chatting with us today!
    Thanks, Ryan.
    I'm actually getting my first of two shots today.
    Excited to do it and grateful for the folks who made it possible.
    And thanks for participating in the bracket challenge.
    Picking Baylor saved my bacon. My other picks were a mess.
    I think if Molina had to decide today if he wanted to play next season, he would say sign me up.
    And the Cardinals would be crazy to not bring him back on another one-year deal if so.
    But the beauty of this deal, and Wainwright's, is that it can be decided after the season, with little pressure on either side.
    Getting Molina on board with the Wainwright plan was the smart move for the Cardinals. 
    If he feels good and plays well, and he wants to do it again, bring him back.
    If he gets hurt or struggles, send him off into retirement.
    Molina playing in 2022 would be bad news for Andrew Knizner, and it's fair to wonder if he would be moved. It's been fair to wonder that for a while now, honestly. There seems to be more and more signs -- including Molina's comments -- that Herrera is gaining ground on Knizner as he waits for his turn to start.
    Does Tommy Edman have a chance to be competing with Kolten Wong for a gold glove?
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