STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat with 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. Hope everyone isn't dragging too much after another late Blues game. Another one Wednesday night! But, at least the boys are back in it. They seem to have found their groove, and I imagine the Canucks now realize they're up against the defending Cup champs. The Cards are playing better baseball than I thought might be possible, though they are going to have some hiccups from time to time based on pitcher availability and the crammed schedule. Mizzou opens with Alabama. Ouch. Plenty of MLS developments to discuss if that interest you. Let's roll.
    Wong at leadoff looks so perfect on paper and it made all the sense in the world to try, but his splits almost insist that he it 7th or 8th. He has never been a pressure player and anytime he starts to feel it his performance suffers. Time to swap him with Fowler and get his production rolling again.
    Kolten is 1-for-10 since the start of the Chicago road trip. Not great. He's not striking out much though, just once actually. I would probably wait a little bit longer, and if I do revisit the leadoff spot I would be including Edman along with Fowler in the discussion. Fowler's off to a strong start, and that matters in a short season. I would not be opposed to see him getting some reps there at the top.
    So is everyone just supposed to pretend that Carpenter hasn't been awful at the plate? If I hear Danny Mac talk about his summer camp one more time... All the guy does is pull the ball over and over and over again, and he's still giving pitchers the free first strike! I don't see how his bat plays everyday once DeJong is back. Miller looks like the DH going forward and the 3B when Edman rests. Are random singles really enough to keep Carp in the line-up?
    The numbers are the numbers. No pretending. He's got a .194 average. .286 on-base percentage. .226 slugging percentage. Just one extra-base hit. Six more strikeouts than walks. Not the kind of start you wanted to see from Carpenter after last season, for sure, and the sample size is now 10 games in a (for the Cardinals) less than 60-game sprint.
    Brad Miller's had a hot start through four games and it's going to be hard to not keep him in the lineup until or unless he cools off. If he keeps that up, DeJong's return could make wind up affecting Carpenter's playing time, sure.
    But since we are not imagining, let's not imagine this season is going to be treated normally moving forward, because the season isn't normal. The Cardinals are playing a ton of games. They're playing a ton of doubleheaders. They hardly have any off days.
    Pretty much everybody is going to play moving forward, and that includes Carpenter.
    That's just what this season now demands, and it has to be factored into our evaluation of what we are seeing.
    Hi Ben. I know the Mizzou schedule is daunting but I like the 10 conference game schedule. I like what Rece Davis said that this should be the future with one FCS game and one Power 5 game added. What are your thoughts? Thanks
    I agree 100 percent. I would much rather see Mizzou take its shot against an LSU or Alabama than play a handful of games against Nobody State Eastern University of Ineptitude. Circling the SEC bandwagons has other upsides. It would increase the fraternity of the league that has slipped a bit since Mizzou and A&M entered, building rivalries and exposing programs and coaches that were not up to snuff. Athletics departments should be learning a lot from this COVID-19 crisis that will threaten all of their budgets, and one of the things is how crazy it is to spend a small fortune on games against blood donors for an easy win.
    Good morning, Benfred! thanks for doing these!

    Which is more impressive? The Blues flipping the switch, the depth of the cardinals pitching, or the STL City FC's hiring of an impressive football director?

    Love watching the cardinals grind at-bats again....
    The Cardinals are running on adrenaline, so let' see how it ages as the grind sets back in.
    We have to see how St. Louis City SC sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel settles in before we can say the hire is great. It's a great name, for sure. And he seems energetic and capable, up to the challenge. But results will measure his success, not praises upon his arrival, and he knows that.
    So, I'll go with the Blues.
    If it was not clear before, it is now. The round-robin games meant nothing. They were glorified training sessions. So, if we lop those off, the Blues have gotten better each game of this elimination series, and they are doing it without some key players and with the backup goalie. Jake Allen is one of the most interesting figures in St. Louis sports in recent memory. I have to think the young, energetic Canucks feel like they landed a punch that woke up the champ. I would not be surprised if the Blues win every game moving forward. They're back to their game. It's not flashy, but it took them a while to find it. I had them in 6 before the series started. Still sticking with that.
    Mr Ben!! Good morning sir.. Hope you and yours are healthy and safe. I had written a comment recently about installing Kyrou into the lineup.. Well, the Blues finally did, and well.. they won the last 2 games.. Not just because they put him in there, of curse; but I do think he created more chances with his speed/skill. He can actually match Canucks 'danger via speed' option... Again, many reasons they won the last 2 games, but, I think Kyrou adds something that they needed.. Especially since Tarasenko has been basically a statue out there.. They need more threats-- speed, stickhandling, dishing the puck... I predict he's top 5 in scoring for the Blues next year. Avoid the embarrassment.. agree with me NOW!! Thanks BFF
    I'm Pro-Kyrou, and I'm also a big fan of not fixing what isn't broken, so I would keep finding him some minutes in this series. He played a lot in the overtime win. 20 shifts, 13 minutes. Just 10 shifts, seven minutes last night. He has more giveaways (three) than shots (two) or point (none). I'd like to see him get a goal or assist before we decide he's the X-factor in this thing, but his speed is always a threat.
    I heard a great term used today to describe most of the Cardinals' roster "serviceable players." There are a lot of guys who play everyday whose glove would feel like a bargain if they were batting in the bottom third of the line-up, but instead they are being relied upon to be offensive table setters or worse yet, catalysts. I know money is tight but the need for a proven bat from outside the organization has not decreased.
    You won't find any pushback from me on the characterization of the lineup as lacking. I've been saying that for a while now. Even despite the large difference in number of games played, the Cardinals are back in a familiar place in the National League offensive rankings. 12th in average (.222), 14th in on-base percentage (.291) and 12th in slugging percentage (.387). That's not serviceable. That's what you would call, not good. But part of what makes the Cardinals overcome that is their defense and their pitching, which cannot be described as serviceable. Their defense is strong. Their pitching is strong and deep. I'm with you. Imagine if the offense was not spread so thin.
    While I am ecstatic that we now have an identity for our MLS team, I heard that St. Louis FC may not be back next year. This is really a shame as I have supported them since they started. I'd hate to go 2 years with out some kind of organizational soccer in the area. Have you heard anything else on this front?
    There is no official answer at this time, but the assumption seem to be that St. Louis FC could be done after this season. I have not been told that definitively, and I think there will have to be a hard answer sometime in the near future because more people are starting to ask, but I have to think that we would have heard about it by now if FC was going to have some sort of connection to SC moving forward, and we haven't.
    Is Carlson trying to do to much or is the pressure for him to much on his shoulders just too heavy?
    No. To both. He's blistering the baseball and playing good defense. His exit velocities are sizzling. The hits are just finding gloves at the moment. It's been 17 at-bats. I got crushed on Twitter for asking folks to have some patience with Carlson if they were expecting him to singlehandedly change the offense. This is why. Those who were expecting a Pujols-like debut were asking for a lot.
    Who was the last free agent Mo signed for multiple years and more than $20MM that over-achieved? Heck, who was the last guy Mo signed that for multi-years that even met expectations? And just as we are approaching '21, where the team will get out from under some many Mo free agent blunders, I look at Mikolas' contract and it's like the whole thing is starting over again.
    Are we talking about more than $20 million per season, or through the duration of the contract?
    I ask because the list of Cardinals that have pulled in $20 million per season is pretty short.
    Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman were two big free-agent home runs, though that does seem like a long time ago now.
    Matt Holliday, who would have left through free agency if the Cardinals did not extend him, would be the best example -- if he counts on your list. None of those guys made $20 million per season.
    Paul Goldschmidt and his $26 million per year are an attempt to clone the Holliday extension. Like Holliday, the Cardinals kept him from becoming a free agent.
    In short, free agency is not the Cardinals' bellwether under Mozeliak, and if you judge success only based on free agency, you will be disappointed in Mozeliak.
    Might be time to give Wong and Edman a breather. See if the youngsters can continue their play. I like their hitting approaches.
    Edman isn't a youngster? That happened fast.
    Guys, everybody is going to play.
    Everybody is needed.
    Look at the schedule. Lots of games in not so many days. Bodies are needed.
    Thoughts on Big Ten cancelling football?
    None really, other than it's wild how poorly it was rolled out -- and how rogue the conference members have gone with their responses. Real lack of leadership there, and clearly some failures in communication. Multiple programs directly challenged conference leadership. Now there are complaints about a vote that wasn't. There has even been speculation that there was no real vote. What? And then, last night, there's a report out of Columbus that suggests maybe the Big Ten will try to bring football back -- in part because the SEC, ACC and Big Twelve are pressing forward. What a joke. If it's about the health of people during the pandemic, doctors should be asked and the answers should be accepted. Period. But it's not all about that. It's about liability and not wanting to be the one or two who shut it down while others play on. It's also about not being able to answer why it's OK for players to gather for workouts and team meetings if there is no season, but just not play games. And it's about how universities are trying to explain how a football season isn't safe, but on-campus living for students and classes are OK, and vice versa -- as in, how can "student athletes" at UNC, for example, gather for practices and games when students are not gathering for class. What a mess.
    Where has Brad Miller been all my fan life?
    In the American league, mostly. And without batting gloves, too. He quietly slugged. 600 against righties last season. Surprise last night was one of those bombs came off a southpaw.
    Hey Ben, I keep hearing the NBC broadcasts talking about how the "precedent has been set" when it comes to the officiating and all the penalties being called. It's strange to me that we normally see the refs let teams play more and call less penalties in the postseason and now in the bubble postseason its the opposite. Any idea why? Blues PK looked great last night but we won't kill 7 penalties very often against that power play. I wish they'd let them play more for the blues sake.
  • The officials finding their whistles in the bubble has been a bad development for the Blues, who definitely benefit from the usual trend of rougher play being allowed in the playoffs. Part of me wonders if it's the silence. Honest. Officials can hear more complaints from players, the benches. They can other things better too, like the whack of a high stick or hook. Another thing to consider is that teams like to get out in front of complaining about the Blues' physicality early in a series, and sometimes it does make an impact on the officiating. We saw San Jose try that last year.
    I know some people who are already calling Carlson a bust...these people don’t realize he’s hitting the ball with authority and not striking out a lot. He would have had possibly 2 RBI’s in the first game before B Miller hit his triple but they played him up the middle. I can’t wait to see these balls drop for him.
  • I don't think anyone is calling him a bust.
    At least I hope not.
    What do you think the chances of the Chiefs-Texans game actually being played on September 12?
  • I've never understood the claims the NFL won't be able to have its season. It has the money, the resources and the drive to make it happen. It won't take no for an answer. I would be surprised if fans are allowed in, but we will see. Seems like some are going with a very, very small capacity. I have a lot more doubts about college football than NFL.
    Carlson is going to be fine. I’m not worried about him at all. Just wanted to get that out of the way. But all the people who thought he’d come up and instantly improve the offense on his own are getting a reminder that hitting in the big leagues is much more difficult than the minors.

    Also, I’m glad knizner is getting some playing time right now. I’m hoping it’s not just because of the double headers and even after yadi gets back he should get in the lineup even if it’s as a DH.
  • Well said on Carlson.
    As for Knizner, I'm with you.
    Play the kids.
    They're hungry, and they are fun to watch.
    Kind of cool to see, due to the high number of games in a short period of time, players seeing their first major league action of their careers. With one exception - poor guy; hope he bounces back.
    For sure, although I can't help but feel somewhat bad they can't have the usual thrill of seeing their families in the stands for the big moment. But a strange moment is better than none at all, and it's not like they have the experience of the traditional experience to compare it to. Roel Ramirez should bounce back. That was rough, though. Mike Mayers like, but worse. He would not have been in there in normal circumstances. I'm sure Shildt feels bad about it.
    Are the Cardinals really above average MLB pitching? Are the pitching blowups the last few days just a a short roster aberration? I have selection bias with the innings I have watched, so I would like to hear from someone with a larger sample size.
    In general, yes. Talent and a ton of depth.
    If we are only judging the first week back after more than two weeks in which these pitchers were shut down from pitching in games, then I don't think that's really a fair judgement.
    So, just how much longer are we supposed to eat the salsa? 2019 and 31 bats are no small sample size anymore. Funny how they keep rolling this out there and assume nobody's paying attention. I wonder who could make mention that the fans aren't fooled. A writer possibly...…..
    You act as if I've been driving the Carpenter hype machine. He had a good summer camp. That means little now, and he has not had a good start, following his career-worst season in 2019. The Cardinals owe him $18.5 million NEXT season, too. A bad situation gets worse every time Carpenter doesn't produce at the plate. But if anyone is being fooled, it's those who think that a team that was probably another positive COVID-19 case or two away from being shut down for the entire season is going to stop using a healthy player when a team needs to play something like 50 games in 40 days. There are way more doubleheaders than off days in the coming future. Carpenter is going to play. Now, if this keeps up, and Paul DeJong returns, and Brad Miller keeps doing what he did, then Carpenter shouldn't be playing nearly as much. Of course. But assuming that decisions are only being made on competitiveness -- and not simply fielding a team that is not exhausted -- is truly a sign of not paying attention, in my opinion.
    I really appreciate your ability to be, what I consider, a little more objective than a lot of the other local media. In a chat with one of your colleagues I asked what teams he believed to be comparable to the Cardinals. He listed Kansas City, Pittsburgh. Cleveland, and a couple of others. To me that’s a ridiculously low standard for the amount of support the Cardinals receive. I think they should be held more towards the Nationals, but I know that there are fans out there that think my standards are too low. It seems there is a wide delta on what fans think the standard should be. In your opinion what teams should the Cardinals be compared to?
    The Cardinals make their annual goal pretty clear. They want to win the division. They want to get into the postseason and make a run when they get there. They are hesitant to sacrifice what they feel is a solid sustained success model to chase spikes, because spikes are not guaranteed, and they tend to be followed by lows.
    That's the model.
    This season, though. forget the model.
    This thing is a crapshoot now.
    I know it's hard for Cardinals fans to wrap their brains around a season that has no pressure, but that's one this one has become.
    With the expanded playoffs and the notion that they could be determined by winning percentage, maybe the Cardinals can find a way to get in, but expecting a team that was shut down for more than two weeks, had 15 or more fewer games than its opponents when it returned and lost multiple All-Stars for even longer than that two-week shutdown to return to the same expectations it had at the start of an already strange 60-game season, then that would suggest the expectations entering the season were bogus. They weren't. The Cardinals felt the team they had entering 2020 could win the division. Fans were fair to hold them to that. Then COVID happened. Now, crapshoot. Some feel the urge the heap blame upon the Cardinals for letting the virus derail their season. I disagree with that more than others, but it's clear the Cardinals didn't do as good of a a job managing against the virus than they could have. But I can't sit here and pretend this season is anything but a crapshoot for the Cardinals now. 
    How ridiculous were the managers' comments after Fernando Tatis Jr's grand slam last night?
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