STL sports chat Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat Ben Frederickson

Bring your Cardinals, Blues and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

    Greetings chatters. Plenty to discuss today. Cards preparing for NLDS with some reports of postseason roster dribbling out. Blues preparing to raise the banner Wednesday, and have you seen those boulders masquerading as rings? Caleb Love picks between UNC and Mizzou tonight, though one seems to be the clear favorite. Wherever you want to go, we'll go. Let's roll.
    What pleasantly surprised you the most of this regular season regarding the Cardinals?
    Tommy Edman is a fine pick here, but I'll go with Giovanny Gallegos. When the Cardinals made the Luke Voit trade, they made Chasen Shreve the headliner. He was a bust, but Gallegos became one of the most effective relievers in the National League this season. His impact has been huge. Turn that trade around, make Gallegos the headliner, and no one is complaining. No one's complaining now.
    I just read the Nationals only have 9 pitchers on rooster for tonight's wild card game. Can you please try to clarify what their likely rationale for doing this is?
    You read right, and yes, I can. Max Scherzer is starting. The Nationals believe he will go long. The Nationals also have the worst bullpen in baseball. So, why load up on lousy relievers? ESPECIALLY when you're going up against the Brewers, who are going to make a million pitching changes throughout the game. Countering by piling up bench bats allows the Nats to play that cat and mouse game better. And, if Scherzer does not go long, the Nats can call upon their other starters as relievers. Their starters are better than their relievers. It's that time of the year. One game. Go with your best to survive. That's the strategy, as I can read it  from here.
    GM Mike Girsch was noticeably absent from the locker room celebration and team photo Sunday. Being that he’s the GM of the team, though obviously only in title as MO calls the shots, what exactly is MGs role in the organization? Do you see him potentially moving on at some point in the near future?
    We're still doing this? Girsch was in the clubhouse, celebrating along with John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt Jr. I know because I talked to him while he was in there. The president of baseball operations (Mozeliak) does have more decision-making power than the general manager (Girsch) but that's no different than any other team with those roles. The Cardinals did not have a president of baseball operations before that role was created for Mozeliak, which led to Girsch's promotion. Girsch is very much a part of the decision-making that leads to decisions. He's in those meetings. He's with the team at winter meetings and in the war room at the trade deadline. The Cardinals have a small group that makes big decisions, and he's a part of it. Could he move on? I think anyone could move on at some point. If he wants to be a president of baseball operations some day, and the right opportunity comes along, or if he seeks a front office role that has more autonomy, perhaps. But Mozeliak gave Girsch his shot after Girsch cold emailed him, so I think there's a lot of loyalty there. And the way this season finished, the front office is stable. It would have been without this finish, based off DeWitt Jr.'s comments to colleague Derrick Goold during the season. Girsch is a bit under the radar. I get that. That doesn't mean what you see (or don't) at press conferences or televised celebrations is the same as his role in decision-making.
    Is Ozuna batting clean up all of the Cardinals' post season no matter what?
  • I wouldn't bet on anything else.
    He's not hit anywhere else this season.
    Mike Shildt does not seem like the type to switch that up now.
    Especially with Ozuna showing some signs of shaking out of his slump in Game 162.
    I would bet on him wearing the green sleeve the rest of the way.
  • Any idea when NLDS rosters will be announced? Any advanced info on who may be on, or surprises?
    I took a shot at predicting it in today's paper.
    Link below.
    This morning, the team's Spanish broadcaster, Polo Ascencio, tweeted that he was told Genesis Cabrera has made the cut, and that Randy Arozarena did not but will travel with the team.
    Also this morning, Mark Saxon of The Athletic, tweeted that he was told John Gant did not make the cut.
    The Gant news would be a mild surprise, considering his role on the team this season.
    He was one of the most-used NL relievers and had a stellar first half. But he's been quite bad in the second half (6.65 ERA).
    He had not pitched since the Arizona series, but did pitch 1.2 scoreless innings in that stint.
    I kind of figured they were giving him a breather, but that he would get in. Maybe not.
     
    Molina came through with the big fly at Wrigley. It seemed in the last week of the season Yadi was also pressing somewhat to crank some more. Anything concerning here from your vantage point with Molina trying too hard now to homer and be something he is not?
    No concern here. He had at least two homers robbed at the wall. He's got a batting line of .310/.371/.508 since he seemed to shake off the injured-list rush. In that span, dating back to August 23, he has 12 multi-hit games. Molina is in postseason form. He knows when to swing away and when to get something in play. 
     
     
    2020 Cubs manager, Mike Matheny - has a nice ring to it, eh?
    My understanding is that the Cubs think tank does not have a glowing view of Matheny as a manager. That think tank also just fired the man who had a clear upper hand on Matheny as a rivalry flipped. Don't think Matheny would be appealing to the Cubs. Do think he is the favorite in KC.
    Do you think that 3rd base will be in play for an addition next year or will the Cards give Carp and his contract another chance with Edman as the swiss army knife?
  • Some if it depends on what happens in left field, right?
    Opening up left field to a newcomer like Dylan Carlson AND trying a Dexter-Fowler-like bounce-back campaign for Matt Carpenter at third seems like baking a lot of hope into the left side of the diamond.
    Clearly, Edman has proven he has a place on this team, in some capacity. Do you feel confident making him your every-day starter at third base? He's making that look easier to do as he goes.
    Carpenter could play left field. He has in the past. Seems the Cardinals will need to find some sort of role for him if he doesn't bounce back to reclaim third base. The Cards don't like to walk away from these kind of contracts, and I can't imagine the line will be long to deal for Carpenter after the season.
    There are still some moving pieces, obviously, but it would be unlike the Cardinals for Carpenter to not get another shot next season.
  • How about Rondon for third base ? He would solve 3B problem and would replace Ozuna offensive results . Move Edman to OF . Your thoughts please
    They haven't changed. Love Redon. That would be great. But until the Cardinals sign a top free-agent pitcher or position player on the free-agent market, I won't expect it.
    The batting order and lineup has some serious questions. Carp has been more productive, does he start? Given Wong's health and production before injury, would he bat second or stay with the red hot Edman?

    I really like the current lineup, sub Wong for Carp and bat behind DeJong
    The first question -- will Carp start? -- depends on Wong's health.
    If he can't run without hesitation, then you're not getting the best version of Wong.
    And if he presses and hurts it again, then he's done for the postseason, period.
    Only Wong and the Cardinals know how close he is, truly.
    The question the Cards have to answer is if a lineup with a somewhat-limited Wong is a better bet than a lineup with a starting-to-stir Carpenter.
    Or, play all together -- Carpenter, Edman, Wong -- and let Edman play in the outfield, switching Dexter Fowler to center for Harrison Bader.
    But that chips away at your defense pretty significantly, and it's defense that led the Cardinals to the postseason.
    So, yeah, a lot of hard decisions -- and ones that don't have answers until the final reading on Wong's hamstring.
    As far as order, I would be tempted to keep Edman at second because of the combination of his recent success there AND his full health and speed.
    Here's an easy way to justify it: Which guy, right now, wins a race to third base?
    The one who's not one step away from a severely damaged hamstring. 
     
     
     
    Now that Flathery cannot start 1st game, do the cardinals hand game 1 to Hudson? He’s the most inexperienced but best of the remaining pitchers? And do they start a injured Wong? He is better then Carp. What’s your opinion.
    All signs point to Miles Mikolas for Game 1.
    Shildt declined to confirm it but said it's the right way for us to lean.
    Mikolas allowed 3 earned runs in a seven-inning outing against the Braves earlier this season.
    During his time with the Cards, he's got a 2.95 ERA in three starts -- two quality -- against the Braves.
    Atlanta has averaged .254/.284/.394 against him during that time.
    He's been solid against them, and this is what he's getting paid to do.
    With the off days baked in, Hudson could be an option out of the bullpen in addition to making starts. He's up for that.
     
    I feared beforehand Maddon being selected as the Cubs skipper back 5 years ago was bad news for fans of teams for the rest of the central division. How about now, is there anyone you feel will be as close to a perfect candidate on paper for the open job? Maybe it best we hold back specific names but is there anyone that comes to mind...
  • I think Cardinals fans should root for David Ross.
    Replacing Maddon with a former player who has no managerial experience would be a win, strategy-wise, for Mild Shildt.
    It's going to be hard for the Cubs to find a manager who was better for the Cubs specific to the Cards-Cubs rivalry then the one they just cut ties with.
    Maddon reset the tone of Cards-Cubs. He gave the Cubs their swagger. He rattled Matheny and beat him more times than not.
    If Theo and Co. can lure Terry Francona, that would send some chills up the spines around here, but it sounds like the Cubs want to go a different direction to find a manager that is more of an extension of the front office.
     
  • Heads up, chatters.
    I revised a previous answer in the chat.
    I misread Polo Ascencio's tweet I mentioned earlier.
    The updated answer appears below.
    He says Genesis Cabrera is on the playoff roster, but Randy Arozarena is off but will travel with the team.
     
    Updated answer:
    I took a shot at predicting the postseason roster in today's paper.
    Link below.
    This morning, the team's Spanish broadcaster, Polo Ascencio, tweeted that he was told Genesis Cabrera has made the cut, and that Randy Arozarena did not but will travel with the team.
    Also this morning, Mark Saxon of The Athletic, tweeted that he was told John Gant did not make the cut.
    The Gant news would be a mild surprise, considering his role on the team this season.
    He was one of the most-used NL relievers and had a stellar first half. But he's been quite bad in the second half (6.65 ERA).
    He had not pitched since the Arizona series, but did pitch 1.2 scoreless innings in that stint.
    I kind of figured they were giving him a breather, but that he would get in. Maybe not.
     
  • What you failed to mention is that Mikolas start against Braves came at Busch, where he still gave up two HRs. Now imagine that in the bandbox in Atlanta. Isn't a groundball pitcher like Hudson better to neutralize a homer happy park?
    OK, let's look at the lone game Mikolas has pitched at SunTrust Park, then.
    Last season, he gave up two earned runs in five innings of a game the Cards won 11-6.
    Hudson has only pitched at the park once, in relief, last season. He has a 5.40 ERA in 1.2 innings there.
    If we're going to base this on ballpark, Mikolas has more of a case.
    I'm not against Hudson starting Game 1.
    Point is, both of them are going to have to make a start in this series, and I'm OK with the veteran going on the road while the rookie gets the one at home -- and has a chance to come out of the pen one game, something he got used to last season.
     
     
    Our starting pitchers have no playoff experience except for Waino, cause for concern?
    Sure.
    Neither does the cleanup hitter, the starting center fielder, another starter (Edman) and a whole bunch of the relievers.
    This is not the traditional postseason-hardened Cardinals team.
    We're going to find out how a bunch of guys handle the big stage.
    Over last winter, we thought it would take 100 wins to win the Central Division, the team’s declared goal. Turned out the Nl Central was the weakest division in baseball, and 91 wins won it (barely). Do we give Mo credit for achieving his goal, or call him lucky that the Cubs and Brewers regressed do much? I ask because I expect that we will hear that we win the division often this winter as an explanation for personnel moves or lack thereof.
    The Cardinals were not lucky when Alex Reyes was lost for the season, or when Carlos Martinez was incapable of sticking in the rotation, and so on. They weren't lucky when Yadier Molina's thumb was injured, when Marcell Ozuna broke his fingers, when Kolten Wong's hamstring pulled. And so on.
    The Cardinals said they felt they were built to win the division.
    They won the division.
    A team that states a goal and achieves it deserves credit.
    As far as the moves that follow, the Cardinals have taken some intrigue out of them. They're going to keep doing what they have been doing. Chugging along, not over-reaching, not placing too much emphasis on one season or one offseason. This season has only justified their approach to them. Harper and Machado are not playing postseason baseball. The Cardinals can cite this season and the moves made and not made to justify their sustained success approach, and they will.
    If Wong is good to go, would YOU sit Bader and align the OF Ozuna, Fowler and Edman (with Carp at 3rd), or would you side with defense?
    Not to start.
    I think you respond as a series goes along, but to start I would want my team to win my way.
    Not giving the tried and true approach a shot speaks to second guesses about its ability to get the job done.
     
    Alec Ogletree now Giants suffered Level 2 hamstring strain against Tampa. I bring it up because Francesca has Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) physician (former Giants team physician) each week. I was thinking about Wong when he told Francesca that although stated protocol is 3-6 weeks their history shows that return prior to 6 weeks causes reinjury 30% of cases. For what it's worth
  • This boils down to the risk Wong is willing to take (he's willing to) and the risk of losing him for the rest of the season if that re-injury occurs. Basically, what percent of Wong is worth risking zero games for Wong moving forward? It's not ideal, and it would not be treated this way in a regular-season situation, but this isn't a regular-season situation. Fully-healthy Wong is not going to be an option for a while. It's when he can be healthy enough to be as much of himself out there as he can be, and when that becomes better than what the Cardinals can do without him.
    What time is the banner ceremony tomorrow for the Blues? It will obviously be televised, correct? Thank you for the work you do!
    It's scheduled to start shortly after 6:45 p.m.
    Can't speak for the TV side, but I imagine it will be available for viewers.
    That seems like something they would not want to miss.
     
    Do the guys left off the roster still get to travel with team and be on the bench/bullpen?
    Within reason, yes. Players not on the roster can travel with the team. Michael Wacha, for example, is a likely candidate.
    Which of our players do you think will take things up a notch during the postseason? Im thinking of how David Ortiz seemed to play at another level during the most important games. Will any of our guys do this?
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