Join columnist Ben Frederickson live from LA for his STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson live from LA for his STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

It’s Wild Card Eve and Ben Frederickson will be taking your questions in his 11 a.m. chat Tuesday

    Good morning from Los Angeles. Team P-D is here on the left coast to cover Wednesday's wild-card game. Headed to Dodger Stadium later this afternoon for the Cardinals and Dodgers workouts there. But we've got two solid hours to chat about the big game, and whatever else is on your mind. Thanks as always for stopping by. Let's roll.
    Clearly the best two teams in the senior circuit this year having zero chance of squaring off in the NL Championship Series is devoid of (much) logic A simple fix idea is postponing division series seeding until both wild card game victors are determined. Then re-seed 1 vs 4 and 2 v 3 based upon regular season records. Keep intact the current rule that denies anyone not winning their own division an opportunity of capturing home field advantage the next two rounds. And finally in the Fall Classic the one pennant winning squad remaining with the best season winning % gets the potential extra game in their stadium. Does that pass muster with at least you?
    I don't think it needs to be so complicated.
    I would just make the wild card games a three-game series instead of one game winner take all.
    I didn't think the Cardinals-Padres wild-card series last season was lacking for excitement or energy.
    I don't like a 162-game season that is based off series decided by one game.
    That's my only real beef.
    Who's on First? - All I'm trying to find out is the fellow's name on first base (assuming Muncy is not) ...
    Albert Pujols. Cody Bellinger. Matt Beaty. Those are the most likely options for the Dodgers to replace the injured Max Muncy. I know STL fans would have a shiver go up their spines if it's Pujols, but he's not very good against right-handed pitching. Bellinger has been Matt-Carpenter-like this year but it wouldn't be very surprising if he shakes that off for some playoff magic, and he's a southpaw swinger. So is Beaty. He's been hot lately, and that would keep Pujols on the bench as a pinch-hitter against a Cardinals lefty reliever if the game gets to that point. We'll see if Roberts tips his hand today.
    I was at Friday’s game and every time PDJ came up, he was a rally Killer. He needs to find somewhere else to play. The body language is also very negative?
    Edmundo Sosa will be starting Wednesday, not Paul DeJong, as long as he's good to go with the arm and signs suggest that is the case. Cards dancing with the date that brought them, and DeJong did not turn his late and maybe last chance into a surge that made the decision hard. I'll disagree with the body language part. He's frustrated, sure, but I don't think think he's checked out or anything. Just having a very bad season, one that very well could require a fresh start elsewhere. Upgrading shortstop would be wise for Cards this offseason now that their outfield is set and there are going to be some really good shortstops -- Seager -- available.
    Is the Defensive line coaching firing at Mizzou more window dressing, b/c it was obvious something had to be done? Don’t you think this was also a message to Wilks that says no where to hide now, get better or get out?
  • Yes and no.
    The defensive line was supposed to be the strength of this defense, and that unit has been really underperforming so far this season.
    So, Jethro Franklin goes.
    Also would be silly to not point out that's a lot cheaper of an ejection than defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who is the highest-paid assistant a Mizzou sports team has ever had before.
    The heat is still on Wilks, big time.
    But we will see if the ejection of Franklin leads to better play along the front.
    A little improvement there could go a long way.
    Pressure can cover up some holes, like linebackers who are looking overmatched.
  • Thoughts on the latest developments on the Rams lawsuit being 1.) the attempt again to move counties and 2.) 4 owners saying no to disclosing information?

    Will the judge be ruling in both of these issues or will it be handled separately?
    Separate issues. There was a lot of noise yesterday about what are relatively minor proceedings. We reported when the denial of the appeal for a venue change came down that there was another Hail Mary option and not to be surprised if the Rams/NFL tried it. They're doing that. The standoff about the financial information is going to continue until every way of trying to stop it is exhausted. The fine will continue to tick up, and will be owed at the end if the Rams/NFL don't find a way out of it. There's another attempt the NFL/Rams are trying worth mentioning, too. They're trying to get Bob Blitz off the case so they can call him as a witness. It doesn't make much sense why they waited this long to try that, and the delay in asking is going to hurt them there. Looks mostly like another stall tactic.
    Did you see the lightening delay in the Korenke Dome last night? How about the strong booing of the Chargers (virtual home game for the Raiders)?
    I was eating dinner at a place near the hotel in Pasadena and the only people there watching the game were cheering for the Raiders. Doesn't seem to be much of a strong Chargers base here in LA. Shocker. LA is way more of a Raiders town. The NFL really bungled the whole thing, but hey, money!
    Great article today. You really continue to highlight the Albert situation which I think something obviously changed. Where do you stand on it! Did, behind the scenes, someone just blow up alberts philosophy or tweak it and that’s lead to a change or did people just start clicking?
    The answer changes based on who is asked. Albert has made comments that seem to suggest this is payoff to his process. I'm not sure it's so simple. I don't think this would have happened if Shildt had not intervened and advocated for some smarter situational hitting. Clearly something blended right, finally, and maybe that's the answer: a blend of Albert's power-up approach with an acknowledgement that there are times to take other things into consideration, too. Whatever is said now will take a back seat to what is done. Let's see what happens to Albert after the season. You can't argue some of the guys he's hired are working wonders with minor league hitters. I'm curious to see if the Cardinals add a former major league player to the hitting staff, a move that has been discussed quite a bit to provide some been-there-done-that to the staff. Does Albert shift gears into more of a front office role? Jobel Jiminez should be mentioned. A lot of the guys really value his insight and help. There is an argument that says it's good to have some different kinds of teachers who generally agree on the same philosophy. One thing we have not heard is the manager and players specifically pointing to Albert as the reason this breakthrough happened. I don't overlook that. What comes after the season will tell us more about if the blend was the answer, or a shifting away from his teaching was the answer.
    So what’s Wild Card day like for a reporter on the road like you?
    Today? Chat. Team workouts. Column. Trying to get some sight-seeing walks and a bookstore or two in between the work. I had the best breakfast burrito of my life this morning. That was a real treat. Exciting stuff, I know.
  • I saw Benjamin Hochman’s article this morning about Corey Seager and it reminded me of the articles you wrote about Bryce Harper when he was about to be a free agent. My question is, how do you go about writing about a free agent that you almost know 100% the cardinals won’t go after? Do you try to write it thinking the front office is your audience? I ask because I just can’t see them going after seager with the expected price tag attached to him. They just don’t do things like that, especially now that they have goldy and arenado making the money that they are. If they get serious about a shortstop I think it’s more likely they go after Story, if his price drops after a rough season, or someone like Semien, who had an amazing season but is getting closer to the wrong side of his 30s.
    I can't speak for Benjamin, but my point of the Harper columns was attempting to point out to anyone reading that the guy would have been a smash success in St. Louis. I still believe that. He's going to be a top-three NL MVP vote getter this year and may win the thing. I don't have to rehash the columns because it's water beneath the bridge now but when you think a guy is an obvious fit, you should write it as such. BH seems to feel that way about Seager. And I agree it makes a lot of sense -- except for the contract it's going to take to get him. The Cardinals can find the money if they want him. (They can always find the money.) But the 10-year-plus contracts, they are not a big fan of and I'm with you, I'm not sure that changes for Seager. Harper, to me, was the one to swing away on because he was bigger than a left-handed middle order. He is an exciting, face-of-baseball star who would have been an instant ticket seller, instant jersey seller, instant show. To the Cardinals credit they had a lot more faith in Tyler O'Neill than I did, and they look very smart for that this season. He put up MVP-like production at a bargain price, and the outfield seems set for the long haul now as long as he stays healthy. But I still think Harper would have been a big deal here. And he would be in the playoffs for all to see, unlike falling short in Philadelphia. The outfield of O'Neill, Bader and Carlson has rocked since all three started playing together. The outfield of O'Neill, Carlson and Harper would be pretty good, too. But the water is under the bridge and the Cardinals' outfield is in good to great shape. Hard to complain.
    Concerning the lawsuit against the NFL, how can Kroenke's lawyers issue an "Emergency Plea" for change of venue at this late date? It looks like another "Hail Mary".
    The Judge already ruled on this issue. The Appeals Court should give Kroenke one word "Denied".
    Also if these NFL owners don't turn over the required financial information, doesn't that mean the NFL is in "default" and the Judge can rule on damages right away?
    Let's bust these guys for 2 billion and teach them a lesson. Ha Ha
    It's the last gasp to try to get the venue changed. It's very unlikely to work, based in part on how quickly the appeals court shot down the previous attempt. I wouldn't sweat it too much, even if some are making it a big deal.
    I'm not sure what happens if the NFL continues to not hand over the financial documents it owes Team STL. The fine has started and runs daily for all defendants who don't provide the info. I think Judge McGraugh will do everything in his power to get the documents handed over, and his power will be considerable. This isn't league owners ignoring their own policies. It's a judge saying hand it over, with repeated attempts to get out of it blowing up in the Rams/NFL faces. They'll exhaust the delays and wait as long as possible but at some point they have to hand over the goods or the goods will be extracted in a way they will probably like even less.
    Why must people be so Asinine towards a Very Great ShortStop who yes, may be struggling momentarily? He's Only Human like the rest of us. He has Feelings, Emotions, Struggles, Ailments, Good times, Bad times, we All have! Its not like he asked to get COVID- 19 in 2020 [ON HIS BIRTHDAY]! or a Fractured Rib on May 12th, 2021! Keeping him out for a whole month! You DONT know how all that affected his body internally! How can you be so Heartless, Ruthless, & Belittle, Degrade,Critize, & Condem, him so bad you want to see him gone!! Hateful Nasty Entities that aint got nothing better to do with their lives than to be so cunning to make yourselves feel so good! SHAME ON YOU ALL!! He's a Very Smart, Caring, Person that can Cook just about Anything, Extremely SCIENCE SAVY, & can Score a 500 or More on the MCAT EXAM!! PAUL STERLING DEJONG IS THE MAN!!! Y'ALL RECONIZE & RESPECT!!! HE'S AN AMAZING MAN, HE'S DONE SO MUCH FOR THIS ORGANIZATION, THE COMMUNITY, CHARITIES, & YET THERE'S STILL NASTY ENTITIES OUT THERE THAT WILL NEVER GIVE HIM A CHANCE!🤗⚾!
    Hey, I'm the one on the record saying no one should be surprised if Pauly D has a big comeback season next year, whether it's here or somewhere else.
    He's a stand-up, level-headed guy who is too mature to let this turbulence knock him down forever.
    I really do think that.
    So, if he is moved, and this chat turns into a bunch of bemoaning about how the Cardinals traded him at his low point, I will hear none of it. Because I tried to warn you. If it's best for both sides to change the scenery up, I get it, but he's a better player than what we've watched this year.
    How do you see Pujols matching up against Waino tomorrow night?
    Not guaranteed to see it. He's very bad against right-handed pitching. He's hitting .180/.233/.266 against righties this season compared to .294/.336/.603 against lefties. He's only one-for-10 with a single and a strikeout against Wainwright in their career meetings. Roberts may go in a different direction. Hopefully we will find out more today.
    Despite his success going deep in games, seems like it might be smart to limit Waino to two times though the Dodgers batting order tomorrow. Do you agree?
  • I don't agree with the idea of a pregame script for Wainwright. Just see how he's pitching, and how the Dodgers' at-bats look against him. He's earned that. You don't let him lose the game or anything, but you give him a fair chance to win it, like he has 10 of his last 11.
  • Power rankings published by some leading media companies have the Brewers ranked 4th and the Cards 8th. Given the momentum of the Redbirds, and especially the way they treated the Brewers down the stretch, does this seem legit to you?
    Starting pitching is so important in the postseason.
    Brewers have three Cy Young candidates in their rotation: Corbin Burnes (11-5, 2.43 ERA), Brandon Woodruff (9-10, 2.56 ERA) and Freddy Peralta (10-5, 2.81 ERA) make up a three-headed monster that could go all 2019 Nationals on this postseason.
    Do you have a favorite Mike Shannon story for public consumption? Do tell…
    The best one I've ever heard, from Claibs, is about the time many years ago when they were on the road and golfing when a cart comes flying up asking for Shannon
    .Turns out he had left the bathtub running at his hotel room and it was leaking into the rooms below his.
    Shannon said something along the lines of: "What do you want me to do about it?"
    And they kept golfing.
    Behind the scenes, and they are not my stories to tell, there are multiple stories about his generosity toward people, especially young people, who needed some help and got it.
    Sounds like the Cards should be shopping for a solid starting pitcher this off-season. Given their resources and the way the market seems to be shaping up, should they be trying to attract a free agent or to trade prospects, and why?
    They should be an appealing destination for free-agent starters who want to win and want to pitch in front of baseball's best defense. They should also be appealing, if they want to be, to starters who could be looking for prove-it contracts thanks to the success guys like Wainwright and Lester and Happ have had here. That can be a recruiting tool. Oh, and Scherzer is a free agent. Perhaps you've heard of him. He's pretty good.
    In retrospect, it’s easier to now see the rationale in trading away Arozerena, Grichuck, Pham, and others to allow steady playing time for the likes of Bader, O’Neill, and Carlson to develop. With Gorman, Walker, and Winn emerging soon as infield talent to support on the big league roster, who might we see similarly traded to create space for them?
    We've talked quite a bit about the future for Paul DeJong at shortstop being a bit hazy. Goldschmidt, Edman and Arenado are not going anywhere any time soon. Sosa might not get the job he wants next season but he seems to have one on this club.
    I told DG last night that the trade that is going to age the worst for the Cardinals is not the ones that got talked about the most. It's the one that got talked about hardly at all. The one for Marcell Ozuna. Sandy Alcantara is a beast. Zac Gallen is starting to look like one.
  • How do you feel about the notion of seeding teams for the playoffs, NBA-style, vs the current division-driven system? If it would force less-of a division-oriented regular season schedule, do you think that would be a negative?
    I like the importance of the divisions and don't want to see that watered down. I would make the wild-card situation a three-game series instead of a one-game winner take all. That's it.
    If you were Matt Carpenter and you were faced with these two opportunities, would you prefer a minor-league deal from the Cards, or a major league roster spot with a cellar-dwelling team?
    What does the tale of the tape reveal with the Mighty Max versus each of the elite eight combatants he will likely go toe to toe with tommorrow?
    The numbers suggest Tommy Edman is the pick-to-click Wednesday.
    While it's not included in the numbers below, Edman's competitive and impressive at-bats against Mad Max were part of what started getting him a lot of deserved attention during Cardinals spring training.
    In games that count, Edman is four-for-nine against Scherzer with one double and one homer. He's struck out just twice. Can you imagine how the game would change if he cranked a leadoff homer -- or even a double -- his first time up Wednesday? Edman is Wednesday's X-factor for the Cards.
    On the other end of the spectrum is NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. He's five-for-32 against Scherzer, with no extra-base hits and 16 strikeouts.
    Here are Scherzer's career numbers against the Cardinals. Buckle up.

    Edmundo Sosa: one-for-three
    Yadier Molina: one-for-17, 4 Ks
    Harrison Bader: two-for-10, 4 Ks
    Nolan Arenado: two-for-10, 5 Ks
    Paul DeJong: four-for-13, 5 Ks
    Matt Carpenter: seven-for-28, 9 Ks

    The only homer belongs to Edman.
    Just one Cardinal has more than one double against him: Carpenter.

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