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 had fun last night. What a game. I'll remember it for a long time. Wasn't always pretty. Took some luck. But this is a resilient team. That's been clear for some time now. One game to earn another round, and the Dodgers-Nationals are making it more interesting than many of us hoped. On the Mizzou front, two big injuries, one seemingly more serious than the other, but let's see how Kelly Bryant plays first. I feel awful for Cale Garrett. Great player. Great leader. And now he's likely done for the year. Schenn extension is new since we last talked. Big commitment. Wonder if Petro is feeling the pressure to lock something in? Anyway, let's roll.
    Do you think Schildt will stay with Dex at leadoff? He has hit the ball hard but hasn't been on base much...
    I do. He's been pretty committed to the top half of the lineup. And, as you said, Dexter was on target yesterday. Just didn't get much to show for it. He drilled a few balls right on the screws. I don't think he's going anywhere at this point.
    Is this post season the last we will see of Adam Wainwright? Or do the Cardinals have a desire to bring him back on an incentive laden contract like this year? Would it be a smart decision by the club to consider it as well. It seemed this was a good bounce back year for him and his NLDS performance was vintage.
    Wainwright has not yet revealed his plans, and those plans will have a big say in what happens.
    If he's willing to accept a similar incentive-laden deal like he did for this season -- I think he called it singing for supper --then I imagine the Cardinals would want him back, because of how he performed this season, and because of what he means for the other pitchers on the staff.
    If he wants more guaranteed because of his performance this season, that's a different, more complicated conversation, right? How much more guaranteed?
    If he wants to ride off into the sunset on a high note, that could be appealing.
    But he's not talking like a man who's done.
    Wainwright on a similar deal for another year would be in no way damaging to the team. Even if it doesn't work, it's low-risk with a strong potential reward.
    Monday's playoff game was not a sellout for the first time under this ownership. Blame it on being a weekday game, kids are in school, etc. But none of that ever mattered before. So what message do you think the front office should take away from that? What message do you take away from that?
    I mentioned it in my column this morning.
    No one believes in this team like it believes in itself.
    That's not some shot at the fans.
    Just the truth.
    I'll be the first to say MLB did no one any favors with the start time. Players didn't like it because they are not used to playing in those shadows here.
    Fans didn't like it because it was at 2 p.m. on a Monday.
    There were $10 tickets to decent seats online leading up to first pitch.
    As far as how the FO feels about it, I think they care a lot more about tickets sold than actual attendance.
    Some of the empty seats you saw were purchased before the game -- before the start times were announced -- then the people who bought them could not go.
    It would be nice to hear Cards/Braves leaders push back against the MLB shafting local fans for TV purposes, but I would not expect to hear much of that, either. TV pays well. It's a business, first and foremost. Don't forget that.
     
    Does a new 4 year offer sheet should Aroldis Chapman opt out of the remaining 2 years left on his current deal make the elite closer unpalatable to taste here in St. Louis?
    Huh?
    Not sure what you're asking.
    But if it's if Chapman is in play for the Cards, I would say no. Strongly.
    Hi Ben, thanks for the chats! I have a weird feeling about this group - they'll make us suffer but ultimately get the job done... until the Dodgers. My real question is about next year... what changes do you think the Cards have in mind to improve this pitiful offense? Is it just that Carlson may replace Ozuna? Do you see any offensive minded moves coming? Thanks!
    Check the status of that Dodgers-Nats series before you assume it will be LA.
    Dodgers lost a big one last night. They're starting to seize up again. And one quick thing on the Cardinals' offense, for the sake of perspective. I won't sit here and tell you it's great. Lord knows it's not. But check out where the Cardinals rank since the start of the postseason among the 10 postseason teams.
     
    .243 average, 3rd
    .295 on-base percentage, 8th
    .419 slugging percentage, 5th
    33 hits, tied for first despite playing 4 games compared to others 5
    12 doubles, 1st
    4 home runs, tied for 4th
    11 walks, tied for 5th
    35 walks, tied for 5th-most
     
    My point is . . . the pitching is good in the postseason. We are in an era where teams strike out more than hey hit; every postseason team has more strikeouts than K's at this point. Every fan base with a team in the postseason is wondering why certain hitters are not coming through. The same conversation is happening in Atlanta today, with the middle  of the lineup MIA. 
     
    So, moving forward, the Cardinals have offensive concerns, for sure. How Jeff Albert's philosophy steers the team is a big one. The Cardinals' decision on Marcell Ozuna is a big one. I remember saying he could really change that conversation with a big postseason. He's having a big postseason. What to do at third base, left field and center field are, to me, the biggest offensive-minded discussions moving forward, after the season.
     
     
    I'm too lazy to look it up but would the Cards get home field in an NLCS against Washington due to status as a division winner or is that trumped by overall record?
    Cards would have home field over the Nats, yes.
    It's the team with the better record, unless the team with the better record is the wild-card team against a division champ, which the Cardinals are.
    Read this recently in the LA Times: Since 2001, the NLCS and ALCS teams with the home-field advantage is 32-22 in the overall series.
    Only one question for you because I'm working today...
    Was Yadi's bat flip and throat slit directed at Acuna? (I saw Acuna do the throat slit when he caught the last out of Game 3). I know these guys are pros and don't need motivation, but are the Cardinals using Acuna's demonstrative play as an added motivator?
    Thanks for taking questions today.
    Sure seemed like it.
    That's one of those moments that happens, then the players act like it didn't happen.
    Also seemed like Marcell Ozuna, who sometimes does a version of a shuffle step around third base similar to Acuna's, really, really turned his up a notch after his home runs.
    That step, and the look to Carlos, was what fired Martinez up in Atlanta.
    These two teams don't love each other, if that's what you're asking, and the Cardinals seem to directly be focused on Acuna while the rest of the Braves try to play it down.
    Here's what Ozzie Albies said about it:
    "I mean, Acuna hit that big homer for us to put the game closer. And he did his thing. And Carlos Martinez didn't like it. But it's a baseball game. Just shake it off and keep going. We've got to focus on Game 4 and win it."
    The Braves didn't win Game 4. They have not shaken off Acuna. He's still winning his battle against Martinez, by the way. That ground-rule double in the ninth was not far away from being a homer.
    Any update on Missouri's postseason status? This is shaping up to be an 8 or 9 win team.
    I picked them to win nine before the season, so we are seeing the same thing.
    But they just lost their best linebacker and qb of the defense for what seems to be the season, and their QB has a hurt knee he's going to attempt to play though, it sounds like.
    Those are significant hurdles.
    Nothing new on the NCAA front as of Saturday, when I was at the game.
    Waiting.
    Waiting.
     
    I know many teams will be lining up to sign Rendon so it will get crazy . MO has not had a very good success with signing FA. But for some reason if say it goes in his favor, that would solve 3B situation and would replace Ozuna numbers. Your thoughts plse
    Like everyone else, I very easily see the Rondon fit for the Cards.
    I also imagine the Nats will want to keep him after losing Harper.
    I also know the Cardinals have stopped short on the type of contracts that land premier free agents who are on the open market, so I'll be here in believe-it-when-you-see-it camp until that changes.
    5 weeks into the NFL season, what takeaways do you have? Are the Patriots unbeatable?
  • None, really.
    I haven't watched a game.
    Honest.
     
    If the Braves beat Flaherty twice in the series, I kinda feel like they deserve to win. Have to shoot your shot, and we are doing that here. Hope for the best!
    Agreed.
    And if Cards can't give a performing Flaherty enough run support to win, they don't deserve to.
    Asked one player last night if they would have taken one game with Flaherty on the mound over a best-of-five, and he said yes.
    So, the Cards are confident.
    It feels like Goldschmidt is really turning up his game for the playoffs, but I'm surprised at how lost DeJong looks at the plate. Did Shildt give him the bunt sign yesterday or did he do it himself?
    I was in the clubhouse after the game and not in the manager's interview, so I'm not sure if that specific question was asked. If it was, I didn't hear the answer. But Shildt did talk a lot before the game about the decision to NOT have DeJong bunt in Game 3, in a spot that could have used one. His explanation made sense. Here it is. DeJong was at the plate with two guys on in the eighth. Max Fried was on the mound. Here's Shildt.
     
    "Gave it consideration, for sure. So Paulie walks more against lefties. High walk rate against lefties, you got a guy that just walked twice. Paul hadn't done it all year. I can take responsibility for that. He's also got 30 homers and has hit in the middle of our lineup pretty much all year. But you got a guy like that in a 2-0 count, he's not bunting, more than likely. He's swinging the bat. So I can appreciate the question. Again, we had some thoughts about what we could be able to do on the bases. Also Paulie's a high-walk guy against lefties, a guy that's walked two guys in a row. Paulie is a fly-ball hitter, so not really risking a double play. If he hits a deeper fly ball, you have two guys that can tag, especially in Harrison. And we feel like we could have done something on the bases and didn't mind our matchups after that. So really there was about seven things that were pro letting him hit, and it didn't work out. As simple as that. But there was definitely some solid logic behind it."
     
    In Game 4, DeJong did attempt to bunt, as you mentioned. It was with Tommy Edman on and no outs in the bottom of the ninth. Pitcher was right-hander Shane Greene. The bunt attempt was fouled off. Looked bad. DeJong lined out instead and the throwing error advanced Edman to second. Ironic.
     
    In short, I don't know if the bunt was called, but it gave some more insight into why DeJong doesn't often bunt. One, the Cardinals prefer to hope his power breaks through. Two, he's not all that good at it. That should change. Every guy on the team should be able to bunt. It's a skill that should not be tried in moments like that without confidence. DeJong has zero sac bunts in his career, I think.
     
    Not if you saw him try to get home from third in the game he was thrown out at the plate. He's giving it all he's got. Tough dude.
    Was it me, or did it look like that play at 3rd base that hit the bag, Matt C. gave up on the play?
    Seems a bit harsh to me. He thought it was foul. Everyone thought it was foul. Fluke play more than one that hinged on effort or lack thereof.
  • When can we get rid of dexter fowler already???? Can't hit . Can't field .and harrison bader may be a fast runner and a good fielder,but winning teams don't start outfielders that can barely hit .200 .bring back matt meters!!!! Go Cardinals!!!!!!! Finish off Atlanta tommorrow
    I'll just point out that Tommy Pham is slashing .375/.412/.563 so far this postseason, with twice as many hits (six) as strikeouts (three)
    Would you anticipate that if/when Hesley gets in the game Wed that the Braves fans will heckle him, even do the chop in front of him? I think it was courageous for him to say something.
    I can't imagine the Braves having the intestinal fortitude to change their in-game promotions because of an opposing player, because they will fear the backlash more than they care about Hesley's comments.
    What baffles my mind is the lack of awareness the Braves and the league itself had entering this series.
    Helsley's heritage was no secret. There have been multiple stories about it and what it means to him. Why the Braves and MLB would not create a conversation with him entering the series is beyond me. It's a bad look for Atlanta, and a bad look for the fans (I've seen Cards and Braves fans doing it, by the way) who are directing their frustration toward Helsley.
    If you don't want it to be a topic that interrupts baseball, don't do it.
    Seems simple.
    But the Braves wanted to ignore it, then addressed it late and half-assed, and now it's a significant story line entering Game 5.
    Bad PR that could have been avoided if someone was thinking ahead.
    I guess Leander missed the 3 bullets Fowler hit yesterday.
    The chat cares not about would could have been. Only what was. In their head, most importantly.
    In response to my question about Wong running, I wasn't questioning his effort, I was wondering if he's able to run at the same level as he did prior. The statcast from the one of the first games still had him above league average speed to first, but I didn't think he looked like he was able to push it like he prior to the hamstring injury.
    I didn't think you were questioning his effort. Sorry if that read like that. I don't imagine there is any way he's running his full speed right now. He's playing with an injured hamstring. Playing through it as best he can.
    Your prediction for tomorrow ? Who will shine ? Thank you
  • Picked the Cards in 5. So, I'll stick with them. Can't lose two Flaherty starts, right? (Gulp.) And I'll pick Paul DeJong to break out. Why not?
    What does Tommy Edmans future look like with the Cardinals?
    They believe he's an everyday player.
    Question is, at what position, or positions?
    He could be the bounce-around Swiss Army Knife type that gets regular at-bats by bopping around the diamond defensively.
    It would be really, really nice if he could play shortstop confidently -- to help give Paul DeJong some breathers there during the season.
    We haven't yet seen Edman play a single MLB inning at SS this season.
    Some of his future depends on what the Cards do at third base regarding returning to Carpenter, or seeking outside help.
    And some of what the Cards do at third base depends on what they do in left field, regarding extending Ozuna, or seeking a solution from within, or outside.
    The left side of the diamond holds the big questions moving forward.
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