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 well. The Blues are one home win away from locking up a playoff spot. The Cardinals have won nine of their last 11. Times are good, right? Let's see what you're thinking. Fire away.

    Imagine if this outfield had Randy Arozarena. The outfield would be fixed for years instead of The left-handed pitcher they got in return ,which might help this year or maybe next year or maybe never. It’s too bad he never got a chance here to show what he had and had to wait for the playoffs and World Series
    Randy is getting a chance to show what he has for the Rays, and that postseason flourish that made him the talk of the league in the last postseason has been scaled back quite a bit so far this season. He's averaging .265 with a .348 slugging percentage, which are both fine numbers. But his slugging percentage has drooped to .392. O'Neill, Bader and Carlson all have higher on-base plus slugging percentages at the moment -- clearly Bader just got started again -- than Arozarena's .740. The Cardinals have admitted they underestimated Arozarena. But they still seem to think they got the better of the deal in the long haul. We will have to see what Liberatore is about in the majors before deciding for sure. Arozarena is a better player than the Cardinals thought, it's clear. Is he a superstar? This season will tell us. At the moment, it does not look like it. Last postseason it sure did.
    Who said this team couldn’t pull off a winning streak? This team is going to be dangerous come October! Watch out New York we’re coming for you....
    The Cards are 9-2 with baseball's best winning percentage (.818) since April 23. The starting pitching is carrying them, big time. That's their traditional blueprint for winning. If the offense engages while the rotation is churning along, look out. And they're doing it without Molina, who had been the team's hottest hitter. Good signs indeed.
    With Alex Reyes likely not available tonight, who likely gets closing duties tonight if it comes down to that?
    Gallegos is the only other reliever who has had save opportunities this season, so I would guess him. But my first bet would be Reyes goes back out there. He's done at least one back-to-back before and I think it's going to become more common now that two things have happened. He's proven himself and his health, and Jordan Hicks is hurt. The Cardinals sure seemed to be pointing to Hicks hitting the injured list last night. We'll know for sure today. Reyes is 8 for 8 on save opportunities so far this season. He's tied for second most in the majors.
    With a real tough righty ace like deGrom going tonight, do you think Bader rides the pine tonight?
  • I do not. I think the Cards want to see O'Neill-Bader-Carlson together night in and night out unless something signals a different approach should be taken. One of Bader's two home runs since his return came off a righthander. And no, that's not me predicting a Bader bomb of DeGrom. But I think he will get the chance, especially after another homer last night.
  • Beyond Edman up there among the hits league leaders, he also seems to working the counts and taking a fair amount more walks too. What is your take on him?
    Looks pretty good, doesn't he? I reminded Commish last night that he was the first person I heard high on Edman years ago. It's made him look pretty smart. He says he knew Edman was good, but didn't know he was this good. Solid player. Solid approach. Sneaky power. Level headed. Fast and smart. He's got the goods to play in this league for a long time.
    Is it actually against the rules for a pitcher who, accidentally, hits a batter in the head with a 97 mile per hour fast ball to apologize to the player as he walks to first (or to the hospital)? Seems like a classy thing to do but they must be afraid of losing face. I don't know. Trust me when I say I'm not against a little "chin music" but if you actually hit the dude, well ..........
    Nothing in the rules blocks on-field apologies.
    Carlos Martinez apologized to Stallings in Pittsburgh after hitting him in the head when Martinez went to the plate for his next at-bat.
    I don't think they like to rush in toward or at the guy they just hit in case they are mad, which makes sense.
    It could be viewed as aggressive -- or just unwanted.
    Mostly, the Cardinals need to stop plunking hitters in the head.
    That's going to be costly if the trend continues.
    The catcher needs to be part of the solution along with the pitchers.
    Game winning offense in the 10th inning Thursday's game - Ground ball to second baseman, out at first. Wild pitch, ball 1 - Winning run scores. Ordinarily there'd be no one on, one out, ball 1 on the batter. Putting a runner on second in extra innings is really terrible, an insult to baseball.
    I won't argue with you.
    That said Rob Manferd has nothing to do with a pitcher spiking a ball in front of the plate with a runner on third base.
    Sure seems to me like we are seeing a lot more runs score on wild pitches these days.
    Pitchers either can't or won't take a little nastiness off a pitch, and it costs some of them runs when they overthrow it.
    True or False: Bader and O'Neill are the keys to the team because: 1) The overall team defense is much better with them in the OF, Carlson in RF and Edman at 2B, and 2) The best chance for a deeper lineup is with those two growing as hitters, rather than counting on Carpenter, Williams, and others.
  • The Cardinals would say true, and based on what we saw in the outfield -- and with Carpenter starting at second base -- it's pretty easy to agree. Williams, Thomas, Dean, Nogowski and Carpenter -- who sent Edman to the outfield when he started at second -- either did not capitalize on their opportunities or did not give the manager enough reason to give them more, so now the focus is back on O'Neill and Bader, where the Cardinals hoped it would be starting the season. Early returns have been good -- after both healed from their latest injuries. I think it's still too early to say these two are the answers, but the Cardinals have a better idea now that there isn't a better answer sitting behind these two. That makes the pressure on Bader and O'Neill even greater. And it makes them realize that the Cardinals are willing to look elsewhere, as they did while the two were hurt. The next look elsewhere will have to be looking to add from another team, so that makes this stretch before the trade deadline a very big test for both O'Neill and Bader. The final countdown, if you will. At least it seems that way to me.
    While more in line with Derrick Goold's earlier column regarding HBP, what is your thoughts regarding the rule in some pro sports leagues in Asia in which the pitcher is automatically ejected when a batter is hit by the pitch above his shoulders regardless of intent? It would seem to me to stop the subjectivity regarding issuing warnings, ejections, and may improve player safety.
    How long until players start bending their knees and sticking their helmet into slow, high curves to get on base? The easiest fix would be to remove the three-batter minimum so a clearly wild pitcher could be lifted -- or create an exception where a pitcher can be lifted before then if both managers agree to it, somethin that would have happened in the case of Cabrera's meltdown against the Phillies. Sometimes guys get hit in the head. It's a scary part of the game, but it's part of the game. I think the unintended consequences -- discouraging pitchers from pitching inside, specifically -- would be worse than the good created by automatic ejections.
    Does Shildt explain his reasoning for batting Carpenter where he does in the line-up? I'd just like to understand why. Maybe he is confident that Carpenter will walk once or twice a game when he starts, like he did Sunday, in front of Arenado. I'm fine if that is the thought process but on paper it doesn't make a lick of sense to continue to bat him in the top 2/3rds of the order just because of past successes.
    He does explain, yes. He saw that lineup as putting Carpenter in as a filler for Goldschmidt, who needed a day off. So instead of rewriting the lineup and moving everyone around, he just pencils Carpenter in and leaves everyone else alone to keep their routines in tact. It's not uncommon, and La Russa did it at times, too. If it's a once in a while thing, I get it, especially if you like the trend of the lineup in other places. But when Carpenter was making regular starts hitting in key spots, that doesn't make much sense. Those regular starts are not happening very often anymore. He won't be starting for Goldschmidt, or hitting in his spot, very often as long as Goldschmidt is healthy.
    For as long as I can remember in the DeWitt Era, every success is worth about 10x every failure. Meaning a player can be abysmal at his job for very long stretches but that can be immediately erased by a home run or a timely hit or a single outing by a pitcher. Anything that hints towards hope gets magnified by the team especially if it supports their desired outcome for a particular player. My question is will these moments cloud reality come the trade deadline, especially when the window for an upgrade of the offense is finite?
    How players play in the months leading up to the trade deadline will affect the trade deadline, yes. The Cardinals are going to care more about what guys do this season than last season, especially, considering last season was so odd.
    Carlos has been fantastic! Just checking though, Mo realizes he has an option and he doesn't need to sign him to a multi-year deal, right?
    Remember how the Cardinals got burned for signing a bunch of old relievers, and now they don't do that anymore?
    I could see the same kind of shift happening with premature extensions, due to the Carpenter deal and perhaps Mikolas and maybe even DeJong, depending on how Mikolas and DeJong shake out this season.
    I don't think the Cardinals will be rushing to extend non-premier players that are not forcing the issue with free agency, is my point. At least not for a little while. Exceptions, like Jack Flaherty, come to mind. But no, I don't think Carlos will be on the extension list. 
  • Hello Ben

    In regard to Cabrera hitting Harper in the face with his first pitch and the three batter rule, couldn't Shildt tell the umpires that the pitcher obviously had an issue with his arm and didn't want to risk injury? Especially after the second pitch hit the batter as well? What could the umpires do if Shildt just pulled Cabrera out of the game? It would be for Cabrera's own safety as well as the batters.
    Umpires are in charge of keeping track of and enforcing the three-batter minimum.
    They would not have allowed Cabrera to leave the game because of that.
    I don't think they would have handcuffed him to the mound or anything, but I guess there would have been a standoff, basically, if Shildt tried to break the rule.
    What would happen in any game if a team defied a rule despite umpires saying no?  A mess.
    MLB originally said pitchers who had to be pulled before the three-batter minimum would have to hit the injured list. That, wisely, was walked back as the rule was made official. But the league does study the rare instances and can hand out penalties based on malpractice. This would have been malpractice. Cabrera was not hurt. Just did not have command. Shildt was not going to put his pitcher at risk of not being able to pitch in the future because a rule was written poorly. 
    BenFred,

    Is this Blues team a threat to go anywhere in the playoffs or are they a 1 and done type of show?
    Sure they are. They have a coach a goalie and a captain who have won it before. They have health, for the most part, which is something they chased all season. Will they be the favorites? Nope. But their play has been inspired as of late, and that's something we certainly did not see in last season's bubble setting. if they take their current energy into the postseason, they can make some magic. If they hit snooze once they lock in a spot and try to rev up again before the playoffs, I don't like their chances. They are a team that builds toward their best, not one that can flip a switch on and off.
    BenFred, I enjoyed your article on the outfield. Hopefully the patience with ONeill and Bader will pay off. The defense has improved and if the offense production continues, we could have a winner.
    It's weird, but it's almost -- at least at the moment -- like the injuries to Bader and O'Neill might have been good?
    It gave them a chance to reset and see there is always a chance the guys who fill in might take their jobs.
    It gave Cardinal National a reminder there are worse options than having O'Neill and Bader in the outfield.
    Now the make-or-break season the Cardinals wanted the two to have all along can be examined with clearer eyes all around.
    Do the Cardinals feel the need to make a big improvement to the team before the deadline to show Arenado they are serious about building a team that will compete for a WS?
    Sounds like a good plan to me. The Cardinals are not taking about their trade deadline plans at this time. No team is.
    I believe Alex Reyes’ best value for this team is as a starter. But if he wants to make that case to his manager and FO he’s going to have to limit the number of walks he’s been giving out. Way too many.

    However I also want to say that Reyes has had some eventful 9th innings but he’s gotten the job done. When Martinez was the closer he also had many eventful 9th innings but like 95% of the time he got the job done. There is not nearly the angst on Twitter when Reyes comes in as when Martinez used to. If cards Twitter wants to criticize Martinez for his lack of 1-2-3 9th innings then be fair and do the same to Reyes.
  • Cards Twitter and fair don't always go together. One of its major stars and pseudo media members recently spread misinformation about Adam Wainwright not getting the COVID vaccine and failed to correct the misinformation when it was clear he was wrong. Be careful who you trust for news and information about the team. Study every successful closer long enough and you will see most if not all have eventful saves. That's the job. It's a pass-or-fail gig, and Reyes, like Martinez, gets the job done a lot more often than not. Both have good pitches, good velocity and a competitive nature that seems to respond well to the challenge that is a save situation. Reyes needs to cut back on the walks, yes. But as long as he's getting the job done, that's the main thing. Just as it was for C-Mart in that spot, which is why I'll always argue he was underappreciated in that role.
    Glad to see O'Neil and Bader performing now, but I would still like to see them go after a proven 5 hole hitter like Perralta from AZ and send Williams down to AAA for more seasoning and possibly build up his value.

    Do you see the Cards making a deadline deal for a proven hitter - OR - just playing the hand they have dealt themselves now.

    If they do make a deal, what would you do if you were the GM/POBO.
    They have not made those decisions yet and won't until they get a chance to see the outfield they wanted to see start the season -- O'Neill, Bader and Carlson -- log more games together in the same outfield and lineup. The three just started the first home game of the season together last night. They're interested in seeing what happens with that group before they go about deciding if they should tear it apart or upgrade it. There's a lot of time and games before the trade deadline to get a read on what these three can do together, or what they can't. Right now the Cardinals outfield has climbed to the middle of the pack in terms of National League teams outfield OPS production. There's some power there, with Cards outfielders hitting the third-most home runs (14) among NL outfielders. If the defense is as good as it should be, and the power holds, then this outfield with Justin Williams as the fourth outfielder could be good enough. Could it be better? Sure. And that will be the trade deadline discussion, when it comes, perhaps. But it's also too early to say it will be good, I think. O'Neill has had a hard time staying healthy. We know plenty about Bader's struggles against right-handed pitching. The question you are asking, and it's a fair one, will be influenced by what O'Neill and Bader do in the comin days, weeks and months.
    Benfred,

    With the Cubs being in last place, below the lowly Pirates, does that make them a boring team?
    Who would you rather face if you were the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs?
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