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SUNDAY • 07.19.2020 • S

SPRINT TO THE FINISH Franchise cornerstones Wainwright and Molina enter final year of their contracts as team prepares for 60-game dash PAGE 2

LAURIE SKRIVAN, LSKRIVAN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Hochman: Goldy is key

BenFred: No asterisk needed

Flaherty is an ascending star

Breaking down the NL Central

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PAGES 10-11


S2 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

BASEBALL PREVIEW

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

GREATS ‘FOREVER LINKED’ Winning combo of Molina, Wainwright race time for another title with Cards

LAURIE SKRIVAN, LSKRIVAN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina celebrate after winning Game 5 and the World Series in 2006 vs. Detroit at Busch Stadium. BY DERRICK GOOLD

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

he Cardinals’ way from the players’ parking lot into Busch Stadium passes through a hall where Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright’s names join lists of award-winners, and then leads to the clubhouse where their numbers could soon hang, alongside other icons. The moment a player walks inside is when the fables told about this winning pair reach a similar lesson: One or both arrived earlier, already waiting, already working. Former Cardinal Matt Adams got up early one Sunday thinking this time, for sure, he would finally beat Molina to the ballpark for a day game the veteran had off. “Nope,” Adams confessed. “Pull in, go to park — beside Yadi’s car.” Michael Wacha ducked into the video room to get an early jump scouting an upcoming series only to find the two teammates who set the example beat him to the computers, still setting the example. Annually, young catchers arrive to spring workouts at dawn and learn Molina even beats the sun to practice. As longtime friend Skip Schumaker described, “You don’t have to tell Yadi to be in the cage at 5 o’clock in the morning for blocking balls with (late coach) Dave Ricketts. He’s already there waiting for Dave Ricketts.” The stories weave from the clocks they set to the standards they do. This past season, as frustration seethed that their record was less than their talent, the Cardinals called a players-only meeting. Reliever Andrew Miller described how they gathered and gravitated, instinctively, into a “pileup” around Molina’s locker. Where else to go for direction? It’s a rite of summer for a young pitcher to get a tip from Wainwright. He’s shared spiritual support for countless teammates, once rented a car for a reliever he saw walking to work, and this summer offered Korean lefty Kwang Hyun Kim some semblance of home while Kim was quarantined away from his family. A year ago, as Jack Flaherty mourned the sudden death of a dear friend, a knock came at his hotel room door. Wainwright was there for him. That’s what all the stories share. Molina and Wainwright are always there, ever present. They have been as much a constant for the club as championship expectations. As living history, they’ve been a part of the team longer than the current ballpark and soaked up more champagne than the clubhouse carpet. With one on the mound and the other behind the plate, they are St. Louis baseball’s most emblematic and beloved pair of Cardinals perched at a distance since Branch Rickey put two birds on a bat. “Their love of competition, their commitment, their trust in each other, their intelligence and then their championships — that’s a bond as tight as any you can possibly have,” said Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, the winningest manager in Cardinals history. “It would be real special if they had normal careers for this long. Being champions makes them classic. They are in the conversation with the group of the greatest Cardinals. The real mentors, like they are, they’ll talk about those guys forever.” Forged in October, a partnership continues the autumn of its tenure with a season unlike any before. Due to a global pandemic that stopped the 2020 season before it started, the Cardinals will open their 129th year in the National League on July 24th at Busch against Pittsburgh. From there, a 60-game mad dash for

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the playoffs. For the defending National League Central champs and reigning NL Manager of the Year Mike Shildt, it’s a short burst to assert a self-improved offense, anchored by Paul Goldschmidt and outfitted with slugging shortstop Paul DeJong and bounce-back candidate Matt Carpenter. For Jack Flaherty, it’s a chance to show his historic second half was a teaser and he’s ready to ascend to ace. For Wainwright, at 38, it’s three months to decide if he’ll pitch another year. For Molina, at 38, it’s one more chance to become the first Cardinal ever to appear in five World Series. For an organization, it’s an inflection point. The return to the postseason in 2019 started the bridge from one of the most successful eras in Cardinals history to what comes next. A new clutch of core Cardinals is revealing itself, and must. For the first time in their long career together Wainwright and Molina, the nucleus of the modern Cardinals, will both be free agents this fall. Their 16th season together is the longest for a duo in Cardinals history, surpassing Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst, and ties Atlanta’s John Smoltz and Chipper Jones in recent NL history. Their next start as a battery will be No. 279, playoffs included. With six starts together, Molina and Wainwright have more than any pitcher-catcher combo since baseball’s expansion in the 1960s. Wainwright debuted on Sept. 11, 2005, and with Molina has seen the Cardinals win 1,246 games. They have one losing season together. Only the Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox have more wins than the Cardinals in the Molina-Wainwright Era. They have nine postseason berths, trailing only the Yankees and Dodgers, and yet have more World Series titles (two) and pennants (three). No active players have been teammates longer. Few tandems can claim as much shared success. They’ve been there, done that, had to wring the celebratory suds out of the T-shirt. And yet, there is a truer way to measure how they’ve enriched the Cardinals’ tradition. How it looks when they’re no longer there. “It’s going to happen someday, and it’s going to be weird,” former Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter said. “It’s the stamp you put on new guys and what they pass on that makes a solid, lasting organization. Does Yadi have a certain stamp? Does Waino have a certain stamp? Absolutely. I brought that up to (the team) this spring — what do you want this ballclub to look like 10 years from now? When everyone, 40 years from now, is talking about the Jack Flaherty and Paul DeJong Era, what do you want them to say? The Mike Shildt Era — what do you want that to be? Everybody is going to go sometime. People are going to leave. Players aren’t going to be here. “Think of the names that are here — Yadi, Waino — and the stamps they’ve left for you. What is that legacy you’re going to leave behind?”

‘We’ve grown up together’ When these two birds of a feather first met they were even closer than they have been at their best, but their intentions couldn’t have been farther apart. On May 9, 2003, the Greenville Braves visited the Cardinals’ Class AA affiliate for a game celebrated because of that night’s Tennessee Smokies starter, phenom Rick Ankiel, on his return to the majors. Dan Haren started the night before — part of the right-left showcase of the Cardinals’

future. After Ankiel’s two innings, the game came unwound. Schumaker was thrown out at home to force extra innings. Hours before being promoted to Class AAA Memphis John Gall punctuated a seven-run comeback with a walkoff homer in the 13th. Somewhere in that overstuffed box score the Smokies catcher faced the Braves’ starter and singled. Mr. Wainwright, meet Mr. Molina. Twenty-one years to the day after Willie McGee was promoted to St. Louis and joined Ozzie Smith, the Cardinals’ latest dynamic duo shared a field for the first time — as opponents. Later in 2003, the Cardinals acquired Wainwright in a franchise-redefining trade. A battery was born. During the next decade, Molina caught Wainwright’s Triple-A debut (2004), his first major-league start (2007), his first postseason start (2009), and his first World Series start (2013). When Molina became the 10th Cardinal — and first since 1946 — to play in a fourth World Series, the pitch that made it official came from Wainwright. “We’ve grown up together,” Wainwright said. “We turned from little kids to men to dads together. We’re family.” “We’re brothers,” Molina said. “When I grow up I want to be like him.” Their early dinner conversations centered on what happens in the 60 feet, 6 inches between them. Over time, baseball closed that gap. Similarities bloomed. A kid from an island off the coast of Georgia and a kid from an island in the Caribbean were both schooled in the game by older brothers. They’re both pranksters. Molina turned to Wainwright for advice on starting a charity. Wainwright leaned on Molina to “shoot me straight” as he attempted a return from injuries. As their friendship galvanized, their careers bronzed. Molina won the first of his nine Gold Glove Awards in 2008. In 2009, Wainwright started his run of four top-three finishes for the Cy Young Award in six years. Elbow surgery sidelined Wainwright during the 2011 World Series, but in the months that followed, as Albert Pujols left and Carpenter fought injury, what teammates saw happening naturally did officially: It was Molina’s and Wainwright’s team. “A lot of winning has surrounded those two guys,” Cubs manager David Ross said. Added Reds first baseman Joey Votto: “I think they would both agree their relationship together and the connection they have was built through challenging, highstress situations. They have been a very successful battery.” At that highest-stress moment, during a chilly October night in Queens, their wives, Wanda Molina and Jenny Wainwright, were back in St. Louis watching Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. With a newborn, Jenny didn’t travel. Wanda kept her company. Their families were growing and growing together. They shared the same couch, the same nerves, the same cheer as Molina homered, and the same apprehension. Adam joked, “They were biting on each other’s fingernails.” With the bases loaded, the Mets’ Carlos Beltran up, and a pennant fluttering in the balance, Wainwright watched from the mound for a sign. The wives peered in, too. Molina shook off his plan to throw a fastball and urged the rookie pitcher to trust him. “For crying out loud, in the biggest moment of my career, he calls a first-pitch changeup to the best hitter in the world at the time,” Wainwright said. “Because he had a feeling? I had to completely trust him. And I always have since. Being

around him — how do I say this? — I just feel calm.” The changeup set up the curve that clinched the pennant, and by the end of the month a slider claimed the World Series title. Strikeouts, both times. Molina gave Wainwright the baseball from the curve. The catcher kept the slider as a prized souvenir. Like the best Cardinals twosomes, they knew how to make a first impression. Musial and Schoendienst’s first season together was 1946, a championship year. Bob Gibson and Lou Brock had their first full Cardinals season together on the way to the 1964 title. Smith and McGee debuted as Cardinals in 1982, and they both scored a run in the World Series Game 7 win. At the end of their first full season together, Wainwright and Molina leaped into each other’s arms. “I’ve got a bunch of memories, but my favorites are every time we jump into a hug,” Molina said. “You talk about the Cardinal Way, you talk about the names that mean everything to this franchise, and you need to add one: Waino. He is out there to win. We share that mindset. But you can’t win championships every year. You can win a lot of good people that you know. You can win a lot of friendships. And I’ve been lucky enough to do that.”

They’ll always be a ‘tandem’ With his family beside him in the car, Wainwright considered the question this past week from a reporter before repeating it. “How much do we think about what it means being together?” He had a story. In the clubhouse this month, Wainwright and Molina — who he usually calls by his full name, “Yadier” — reunited and talked about a common reality. Molina is coming to the end of a three-year extension, and Wainwright is on a one-year contract. Molina wants to play two more years, preferably with the Cardinals. If he plays, Wainwright wants to be with the Cardinals. The unknown is the Cardinals. The truncated 2020 season and its reduced revenue will influence the 2021 payroll. Uncertainty abounds. “Neither of us wants to go anywhere. That’s true. We say it. We mean it,” Wainwright said. “What if the Cardinals say they want to move on from both of us? If that happens, we’d have to think about going somewhere else. You ask how much we think about being together. He says, ‘Let’s go somewhere together.’ That’s how much.” Molina says Wainwright has shown what it means to “be mentally strong and the best kind of teammate.” Wainwright says he hopes the next generation “looks at all the winning that happened and how we did it together. There’s proof it worked.” When a teammate eventually does walk into the clubhouse to find neither Wainwright nor Molina there, they may be gone but they’re not going anywhere. They’re as permanent as the titles they’ve won. A pitcher not yet drafted will receive the same advice Wainwright gave Flaherty. A catcher not yet signed will hear how Molina ate wild pitches for breakfast. They’re in the hall, on the wall, and in the fabric of the Cardinals. They don’t have to be here to be a presence. “I think about a team without them, I do,” coach Stubby Clapp said. “And then I think we’ll always see them outside the ballpark, together, as a tandem statue.” Derrick Goold @dgoold on Twitter dgoold@post-dispatch.com


BASEBALL PREVIEW

07.19.2020 • SUNDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S3

Adams to Worrell — Long list of Cards teammates for dynamic duo Since Adam Wainwright’s MLB debut on Sept. 11, 2005, the tandem of Wainwright and Yadier Molina have had 286 teammates who appeared in a game for the Cardinals. (Molina’s debut was more than a year earlier, June 3, 2004.) Here is the list of those teammates and the years they played for the Cardinals: Player

Years played together Matt Adams 2012-17, 2018 Sandy Alcantara 2017 Bryan Anderson 2010, 2012 Rick Ankiel 1999-2009 Dean Anna 2015 Randy Arozarena 2019 Bryan Augenstein 2011 John Axford 2013 Harrison Bader 2017-active Brian Barden 2007-09 Steven Baron 2018 Brian Barton 2008 Miguel Batista 2011 Matt Belisle 2015 Ronnie Belliard 2006 Carlos Beltran 2012-13 Gary Bennett 2006-07 Lance Berkman 2011-12 Larry Bigbie 2006 Michael Blazek 2013 Mitchell Boggs 2008-13 Peter Bourjos 2014-15 Matt Bowman 2016-18 Blaine Boyer 2009 Russell Branyan 2007 John Brebbia 2017-active Andrew Brown 2011 Barret Browning 2012 Jonathan Broxton 2015-17 Joey Butler 2014 Keith Butler 2013-14 Genesis Cabrera 2019-active Miguel Cairo 2007 Chris Carpenter 2005-12 Matt Carpenter 2011-active Troy Cate 2007 Andy Cavazos 2007 Brett Cecil 2017-active Adron Chambers 2011-13 Randy Choate 2013-15 Steve Cishek 2015 Maikel Cleto 2011-13 Tim Cooney 2015 Allen Craig 2010-14 Tony Cruz 2011-15 Jermaine Curtis 2013 Paul DeJong 2017-active Mark DeRosa 2009 Daniel Descalso 2010-14 Aledmys Diaz 2016-17 Einar Diaz 2005 Brandon Dickson 2011-12 Octavio Dotel 2011 Dennis Dove 2007 Zach Duke 2016-17 Chris Duncan 2005-09 Ed Easley 2015 David Eckstein 2005-07 Tommy Edman 2019-active Jim Edmonds 2000-07 Cal Eldred 2004-05 Mark Ellis 2014 Juan Encarnacion 2006-07 Brian Esposito 2007 Brian Falkenborg 2006-07 Pedro Feliz 2010 J. Fernandez 2019-active C.J. Fick 2012 Jack Flaherty 2017-active Randy Flores 2004-08 Eric Fornataro 2014

Dexter Fowler 2017-active Ryan Franklin 2007-11 Sam Freeman 2012-14 David Freese 2009-13 Eric Fryer 2016-17 Brian Fuentes 2012 Rafael Furcal 2011-12 John Gall 2005-06 Gi. Gallegos 2018-active John Gant 2017-active Adolis Garcia 2018 Greg Garcia 2014-18 Jaime Garcia 2008-16 John Gast 2013 Troy Glaus 2008-09 P. Goldschmidt 2019-active Austin Gomber 2018-active Ma. Gonzales 2014-15, 2017 Khalil Greene 2009 Tyler Greene 2009-12 Nick Greenwood 2014-15 Luke Gregerson 2018-19 Randal Grichuk 2014-17 Mark Grudzielanek 2005 Preston Guilmet 2018 Jedd Gyorko 2016-19 Mark Hamilton 2010-11 Josh Hancock 2006-07 Mitch Harris 2015 Marcus Hatley 2015 Blake Hawksworth 2009-10 Jeremy Hazelbaker 2016 Ryan Helsley 2019-active Jason Heyward 2015 Jordan Hicks 2018-active Steven Hill 2010, 2012 Jarrett Hoffpauir 2009 Greg Holland 2018 Matt Holliday 2009-16 Dakota Hudson 2018-active Joe Hudson 2019 Chad Huffman 2017 Jason Isringhausen 2002-08 Cesar Izturis 2008 Edwin Jackson 2011 Ryan Jackson 2012-13 Jon Jay 2010-15 Kelvin Jimenez 2007-08 Dan Johnson 2015 Mark Johnson 2008 Rob Johnson 2013 Tyler Johnson 2005-07 Randy Keisler 2007 Carson Kelly 2016-18 Joe Kelly 2012-14 A. Kennedy 1999, 2007-08 Dean Kiekhefer 2016 Ray King 2004-05 Josh Kinney 2006, 2008-09 Andrew Knizner 2019-active Erik Komatsu 2012 George Kottaras 2014 Pete Kozma 2011-15 John Lackey 2014-15 Gerald Laird 2011 Jason LaRue 2008-10 Mike Leake 2016-17 Dominic Leone 2018-19 Kyle Lohse 2008-12 B. Looper 1998, 2006-08 Felipe Lopez 2008, 2010 Josh Lucas 2017

Ryan Ludwick 2007-10 Julio Lugo 2009 Hector Luna 2004-06 Lance Lynn 2011-17 Tyler Lyons 2013-18 John Mabry 1994-98, 2001, 2004-05 Mike MacDougal 2010 Evan MacLane 2010 Mike Mahoney 2005 Seth Maness 2013-16 Mike Maroth 2007 Jason Marquis 2004-06 Victor Marte 2012-13 Carlos Martinez 2013-active Jose Martinez 2016-19 Justin Masterson 2014 Joe Mather 2008-09 Mike Mayers 2016-19 Kyle McClellan 2008-12 Michael McKenry 2016 Adalberto Mejia 2019 Alex Mejia 2017 Miles Mikolas 2018-active Aaron Miles 2006-08, 2010 Andrew Miller 2019-active Shelby Miller 2012-14 Trever Miller 2009-11 Matt Morris 1997, 2004-05 Clayton Mortensen 2009 Brandon Moss 2015-16 Jason Motte 2008-14 Edward Mujica 2012-13 Mark Mulder 2005-08 Yairo Munoz 2018-19 Chris Narveson 2006 John Nelson 2006 Pat Neshek 2014 Juan Nicasio 2017 Bud Norris 2018 Abraham Nunez 2005 Seung Hwan Oh 2016-17 Tyler O’Neill 2018-active Adam Ottavino 2010 Marcell Ozuna 2018-19 Matt Pagnozzi 2009-10 Mike Parisi 2008 Corey Patterson 2011 Brayan Pena 2016 Francisco Pena 2018 Brad Penny 2010 Jhonny Peralta 2014-17 Troy Percival 2007 Audry Perez 2013-14 Chris Perez 2008-09 Timo Perez 2006 Brock Peterson 2013 Tommy Pham 2014-18 Josh Phelps 2008 A.J. Pierzynski 2014 Joel Pineiro 2007-09 Stephen Piscotty 2015-17 Daniel Ponce de Leon 2018-active Sidney Ponson 2006 Albert Pujols 2001-11 Nick Punto 2011 Colby Rasmus 2009-11 Rangel Ravelo 2019-active Alberto Reyes 2004-05 Alex Reyes 2016-active Anthony Reyes 2005-08 Dennys Reyes 2009-10

Mark Reynolds 2015 Arthur Rhodes 2011 Ricardo Rincon 2006 Drew Robinson 2019 Sh. Robinson 2009, 2011-14 John Rodriguez 2005-06 Scott Rolen 2002-07 J.C. Romero 2012 Jorge Rondon 2014 Alberto Rosario 2016-17 Mike Rose 2006 Trevor Rosenthal 2012-17 Tyson Ross 2018 Brendan Ryan 2007-10 Mark Rzepczynski 2011-13 Fernando Salas 2010-13 Eduardo Sanchez 2011-12 Reggie Sanders 2004-05 Skip Schumaker 2005-12 Xavier Scruggs 2014-15 Scott Seabol 2005 Ryan Sherriff 2017-18 Chasen Shreve 2018-19 Kevin Siegrist 2013-17 Magneuris Sierra 2017 John Smoltz 2009 Miguel Socolovich 2015-17 Edmundo Sosa 2018-active Jorge Sosa 2006 Scott Spiezio 2006-07 Ru. Springer 2003, 2007-08 Cody Stanley 2015 Nick Stavinoha 2008-10 Kelly Stinnett 2007 Jeff Suppan 2004-06, 2010 So Taguchi 2002-07 Brian Tallet 2011 Travis Tartamella 2015 Julian Tavarez 2004-05 Oscar Taveras 2014 Ruben Tejada 2016 Ryan Theriot 2011 Lane Thomas 2019-active Brad Thompson 2005-09 Joe Thurston 2009 Jess Todd 2009 Sam Tuivailala 2014-18 Raul Valdes 2011 Breyvic Valera 2017 Jose Vizcaino 2006 Carlos Villanueva 2015 Ron Villone 2008 Luke Voit 2017-18 Michael Wacha 2013-19 Jordan Walden 2015 Larry Walker 2004-05 P.J. Walters 2009-11 Rico Washington 2008 Jeff Weaver 2006 Luke Weaver 2016-18 Tyler Webb 2018-active Todd Wellemeyer 2007-09 Kip Wells 2007 Jake Westbrook 2010-13 Matt Wieters 2019-active Ty Wigginton 2013 Jerome Williams 2016 Preston Wilson 2006-07 Randy Winn 2010 Patrick Wisdom 2018 Kolten Wong 2013-active Mark Worrell 2008

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LOST YOUR BALANCE OR HAD A RECENT FALL? DON'T SETTLE FOR LIVING IN FEAR OF FALLING. BY DR. BETH TEMPLIN Geriatric Physical Therapist

If you've been losing your balance or had a fall since the "Stay At Home" order was issued, this can be very concerning. With limited access to activities outside of the house, many people have noticed they are not moving around as much as they used to. This has caused more trouble with balance and falls. With so many people trying to avoid going into the hospital for any reason at all, the last thing you want to have right now is a major fall with an injury. If you or a loved one has experienced a fall within the last few months, you probably already know how life-altering it can be. Once you fall, your whole world changes. Where you once felt comfortable and confident, you now start to doubt your abilities. When this happens, you become less mobile, and your strength and independence start to decline. You begin to lose your confidence and things like going for walks with your spouse, or just going out to the grocery store can become too much to handle. If you or a loved one are caught in this downward spiral and are looking to take control of your balance and regain your active lifestyle, there is something you can do about it! First, let’s take a look at the four systems in your body that work together to keep your balance steady. If any one of these becomes weak, it will affect how steady you are on your feet. Strength: Your hips and ankles play an important role in your balance. When these muscles get weak, you'll notice you're less steady and that it becomes difficult to recover your balance to prevent a fall. Vision: As you get older you rely more on your sight for balance. Common changes with your vision that develop as you age make your eyes less reliable. Even needing to

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The ActiveStep Balance Trainer at HouseFit is the only one of its kind in the midwest. Users can safety practice catching their balance through simulated slips and trips.

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BASEBALL PREVIEW

S4 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

GOLDY’S RESURGENCE KEY If Goldschmidt can be better — or better yet, be Goldschmidt — offense could thrive BENJAMIN HOCHMAN St. Louis Post-Dispatch

n autumn of missed contact led to a winter of discontent. The Cardinals prepared for 2020 with bitter memories of the 2019 playoffs, when miscalculated swings epitomized the Cardinals’ offense that October and, really, most of the previous months, too. “I think we’re going to prove a lot of people wrong,” the Cards’ Tommy Edman said from his locker during spring training. “Last year was a little bit of a fluke from an offensive standpoint.” In the National League Championship Series against the Nationals, the Cards struck out 48 times in the four games. Particularly in Games 1-3, when the Cardinals batted, there was this similar sense to watching the Phillies on that famous and fateful night in 2011. In Game 5 of the 2011 National League Division Series, the Cards’ Chris Carpenter was so dominating, there was just this feeling — none of the guys are going to get a hit, are they? As for the rejuvenated Redbirds of 2020, “I think some guys are going to have big years,” Edman confidently said. To which this reporter nodded the direction over Edman’s shoulder, where Paul Goldschmidt stood. “Yeah,” Edman said. “This guy right here.” The Cardinals can survive if other hitters struggle, but it’s hard to imagine St. Louis in the postseason if Goldschmidt is pedestrian. The team with baseball’s 23rd-best slugging percentage didn’t sign or trade for a big bat, and their cleanup hitter ended up in Atlanta. Yes, a lot of this was by design — the Cardinals want to see this Tyler O’Neill thing through, and see what a healthy Lane Thomas can

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CHRISTIAN GOODEN, CGOODEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Paul Goldschmidt works out at first base during summer camp. His .821 OPS last season was far below anything he’d produced in recent seasons.

Five players who are key to an improved Cardinals’ offense Paul Goldschmidt He’s the Cardinals’ top hitter, but he can’t have a first 60 games like last year, when he compiled just an .803 OPS.

Paul DeJong How much protection can the 30-homer-hitting shortstop provide Goldschmidt? A big storyline in this sprint of a season.

do, and, ultimately, see if Dylan Carlson is really ready at age 21. But Goldschmidt is the offensive fulcrum. Last year, the former MVP candidate tallied an .821 on-base plus slugging percentage. In the previous six seasons, his worst OPS was .899 (and his average OPS in those six seasons was .947). As manager Mike Shildt pointed out, “I think the expectation set him up for being anything less than being Superman was going to be perceived a struggle,” but the other problem was that Goldy’s underachiev-

Matt Carpenter He seems confident that a return to spray hitting will help his production. So will not playing in the field.

Tyler O’Neill The Cards didn’t bring back Marcell Ozuna because they feel the slugger O’Neill can make an impact if given a chance.

ing year was still the best of any Card who played the whole 2019 season. Yep, only Edman had a higher OPS (.850), and he played in 92 games. “We want to win the World Series,” Goldschmidt said. “It’s great to have that picture off in the future, but our focus has to be on doing your job each day. Focus on the things you can control. … If you’re too distracted by results, or too distracted by something too far off in the future, you won’t be able to pre-

Dylan Carlson He’s the team’s top hitting prospect since Oscar Taveras. He’ll likely make his debut this summer.

pare and put in the work now. We know where we’re trying to get to.” Can the Cards be better offensively? Sure. A few reasons why. For one, it’s hard to imagine as many players having down years again. Second, even if many players do have down years, there are more reinforcements than the season before. Third, the designated hitter allows more at-bats and more opportunities for guys to find in-game rhythm — and more chances for Shildt to mix and match lineups.

Someone such as injury plagued Matt Carpenter might not have to wear out his body in the field. As for offensive opportunities, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said: “Everybody in here understands you got to wear ‘big-boy pants,’ and it’s what they do with it. But we have a lot of optimism, and we really feel like they’re going to make the most of this chance.” But really, a key reason why the Cards offense should be better is because Goldschmidt should be better … or, even better, should be Goldschmidt. After all, he’s a reliable pro. He was in his pressurized first season in St. Louis, and now he’s got a year under his red belt. And there are some numbers that suggest optimism. While his August was just all right, his overall OPS in the second half of 2019 was .886. That’s pretty good. And in this rare 2020 season, he’ll only face National League teams from his division. Last year, his OPS against Pittsburgh was 1.193 and against Milwaukee was 1.017. Now, how pitchers throw to Goldschmidt will, in part, be determined by another Paul. Shortstop Paul DeJong will likely hit cleanup and possibly provide protection. He’s coming off a weird year. He hit 30 homers, but batted only .233. He hit a team-high 31 doubles but had a .762 OPS that was fifth-best on the team. Some wondered if DeJong didn’t get enough off days during 2019. A fair question. But here’s another question — in only a 60-game season in 2020, how many off days can a team afford to give its cleanup hitter? A lot of that will be determined by the slugging of some of the new guys getting their chance in big-boy pants. “I get the question (from people) — where does your offense come from?” Shildt said. “It comes from everyone in that room. And that’s the mentality. This is an offense that has a chance to be elite.” Benjamin Hochman @hochman on Twitter bhochman@post-dispatch.com


BASEBALL PREVIEW

07.19.2020 • SUNDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S5

ENOUGH ASTERISK TALK 2020 World Series champs (if we get there in this odd year) will be remembered forever BEN FREDERICKSON St. Louis Post-Dispatch

here’s this frame inside the frame. The first frame is a laptop screen. Cardinals slide into it as they hop on a chair and pull masks from their faces. They are downstairs in a Busch Stadium meeting room not far from their clubhouse. They’re calling it “The Zoom Room.” We are up here in a socially distanced press box, asking the players muffled questions through masks, because that’s just how it’s going to be for a while. Survive and advance. The second frame peeks over the players’ shoulders during interviews. It appears in full only when a Cardinal gets up off the chair, slides on his mask and departs. The second frame is an actual frame, a picture frame, on the wall of The Zoom Room. Inside its polished wood border is a photograph of Hall of Fame Cardinals manager Tony La Russa making his way down a jam-packed line of Cardinals, greeting his players with double fist-bumps before a postseason game. There will be air-fives instead of fist-bumps this season. There will be socially distanced dugouts instead of handshake lines. There will be more masks than a roster full of catchers could use, more Zoom interviews than headphones can handle, more hand sanitizer than a small nation could pump. There will be notable names missing. All-Stars have opted out. Others have tested positive, making this season the least of their worries. There will be no fans in attendance, at least to start. There will be a designated hitter in the National League. There will be a runner on second base at the start of each extra inning. There will be some moments that make us shake our heads and shrug.

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CHRISTIAN GOODEN, CGOODEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Starter Miles Mikolas, right, chats with infielder Matt Carpenter during summer camp. Mikolas will spend this pandemic-impacted season apart from his family. What there won’t be is an asterisk. That junk can be tossed out right now. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the Cardinals starter who has been in both frames. Adam Wainwright knows firsthand the fulfillment of winning a World Series, a sensation he says is, “so special it’s hard to imagine anything meaning more as far as competition.” The 38-year-old three-time All-Star has pitched more innings in the postseason (105.2) than every active pitcher but four: Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester and Max Scherzer. From that group, only Lester (2.51) can top Wainwright’s 2.81 postseason ERA. Wainwright’s credentials are as respected as his curve. Here’s what he says to the notion that this pandemic-shortened season will produce a watered-down World Series champion. “If anybody tries to tell me there is an asterisk involved, I’m going to argue it all day long,” Wainwright said from The Zoom Room, seated in

Longest stretches without a Cardinals World Series Championship 1903-1925

23 years

1983-2005

23 years

1947-1963

17 years

1968-1981

14 years

2012-2019

8 years, and counting

The first modern World Series was played in 1903. front of that photo of his first manager fist-bumping his old teammates. “There are going to be 30 teams with the same shot to win a World Series, just like there always is,” Wainwright said. “We are going to show up, and whoever is the best team in those three months is going to win the World Series. Three months. It’s not like you’re playing a one-month or oneweek season. Three months. You’ve gotta earn that still. A

two-month sprint, with a onemonth full playoff. I don’t care how long the regular season is. If you get all the way through a long postseason and win the World Series, you’ve earned it.” Wainwright was born in 1981. Ask the Cardinals of that year if missing their chance to chase the championship didn’t sting because it happened during a shortened season. A splitseason, strike-caused schedule allowed those Cardinals to miss the playoffs despite having the best overall record in the National League East Division. At last check, the Cardinals’ longtime National League rival was not presented rings of fool’s gold. “On the day before Halloween, thousands of Angelenos spilled onto the streets for a victory parade honoring the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers,” read the coverage from The New York Times. If that championship didn’t matter, it wouldn’t still hurt here, would it? “I don’t believe it’s diluted,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said

as his team was starting its summer camp relaunch after the pandemic derailed spring training. “I think it counts.” I think you can make the case this championship, if awarded, will count a little bit more. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and union chief Tony Clark’s inability to negotiate like adults cost America’s pastime some good will with Americans, but neither Manfred nor Clark can be blamed for failing to predict a pandemic. Baseball, like America, is simply trying to figure out how to move forward, trying to keep everything from crashing down. Baseball will not solve this crisis. It can help us through it. An on-edge nation will be watching. Front offices and managers have had to rethink how they handle their rosters and lineups, because the ones that do the best job of switching gears from 162-game marathon to 60-game sprint will be in the best position when a traditional postseason (hopefully) arrives. Risk-takers will be rewarded. Urgency is invited. Players have had to make hard decisions about whether they feel comfortable playing. Many who opted in, like Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas, will spend the season apart from family to minimize the risk of the pandemic affecting wives and children. Who’s going to tell Mikolas this season and its champion are shams? Not me. Teams are no longer just responsible for how they play, but how they put themselves in position to play their best. A club’s culture and buy-in, usually amorphous things that don’t mean nearly as much as we like to think, have never meant more than they do right now. There will be no parade for the 2020 World Series champions. They won’t even be allowed to bump fists. What they will be, though, are frameworthy pictures of perseverance. No asterisk necessary. Ben Frederickson @Ben_Fred on Twitter bfrederickson@post-dispatch.com

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BASEBALL PREVIEW

S6 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

PORTRAIT OF AN ACE Cardinals ascending star Flaherty ‘not afraid to be great’ BY DERRICK GOOLD

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

hen he heard how a colleague sent his young client a congratulations text for finishing fifth two years ago in the National League Rookie of the Year vote, agent Ryan Hamill grimaced. A former catcher in the Cardinals organization, Hamill knew as well as anyone when it came to Jack Flaherty “you never congratulate on second-best.” Let alone, ugh, fifth. The same went for a one-hitter if Flaherty’s team lost or a shutout through six if Flaherty didn’t finish, Hamill learned from experience. It’s just not “how Jack is wired,” he explained. When Flaherty took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Giants on the eve of the 2019 All-Star break, a solo homer — the only run he allowed — scarred an otherwise brilliant gem. Hamill knew to wait, not congratulate, and watch Flaherty for cues. What he saw was a shift. “I think he learned to be driven by momentum,” Hamill said. “Success is pitch to pitch, batter to batter, and momentum is something different. He wasn’t looking back at what didn’t happen. He was working ahead to what could. I saw this very visceral change in Jack last year. It was like he said, ‘I’m going to will this momentum on you.’ He didn’t just want to beat you. He wanted to win the next at-bat by taking the will from you in this at-bat.” The game in San Francisco proved a harbinger of the half season ahead — one of the finest ever by a starter in Major League Baseball history — and what’s followed is a young pitcher growing into the role of leader, for his team and his sport. Although his first opening day start comes in only his second opening day on the roster, Flaherty enters 2020 as one of baseball’s rising rock stars. He found his footing on the mound last summer and amplified his voice away from the field this spring. In the previous 128 years, the Cardinals have had more team names than Cy Young Award winners. Flaherty opens the shortened, 60-game season as a favorite, primed to be the club’s third. “Some guys struggle with being put out there and have that pressure on them,” said Chris Carpenter, the last Cardinal to win the Cy. “They don’t want it. They want to be the guy behind the guy, and they’ll do fine there. Jack’s consumed by getting better. He’s not afraid to be great.” After the All-Star break, Flaherty allowed fewer runs (11) than he had starts (15), and his 0.91 ERA was the third-lowest ever. No pitcher had thrown as many innings in the second half as Flaherty’s 99 1/3 and had a lower ERA, or been as young as Flaherty, then 23, doing it. Greg Maddux’s 0.87 second-half ERA in 1994 came in 52 innings. Jake Arrieta’s 0.75 ERA in the second half of 2015 came at age 29. Both of them won the Cy Young Award in those seasons. Flaherty finished fourth. Don’t congratulate. Wait. “I really don’t have to think about not getting complacent,” he said. “I’m never satisfied.” How Flaherty, now 24, reached the precipice of elite is a model of scouting, development, parenting, preparation, and the warp engine of his own ambition. An adopted son of a single mother, Flaherty recently told former Cardinal Matt Holliday on his podcast, “Table Forty,” that when asked where he gets his work ethic he usually says, “I don’t know any other way.” He’s come to realize that’s true because of the example set by his mom, Eileen. Manager Mike Shildt says the Cardinals may like to take credit, “but Jack became a frontline big leaguer when he was a junior in high school with the way he went about things. Jack created that.” Compelled by his athleticism, mature feel for four pitches, and what they knew of his constitution, the Cardinals drafted Flaherty 34th overall in 2014 as only the second high school righthander they took as high in the previous 22 years. His early

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ROBERT COHEN, RCOHEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Jack Flaherty faces hitters inside an empty Busch Stadium during the first day of summer camp.

CARDS LIKE THEIR STACKED DECK ON MOUND To defend their division championship, the Cardinals again will lean on their pitching staff, especially the rotation. Five starters return, all familiar faces, and a lefty has been shuffled into the mix. If anyone falters, the Cardinals can draw on Daniel Ponce de Leon or Austin Gomber. Only the Dodgers’ rotation had a better set of hands in 2019, and with an uncertain offense these are the six pitchers the Cardinals are counting on for an encore. Different season. Same deal. JACK FLAHERTY, RHP An ace rising, Flaherty’s 433 strikeouts in his first 67 games are the most by a young pitcher in Cardinals history, 12th-most in majors since 1908.

MILES MIKOLAS, RHP

ADAM WAINWRIGHT, RHP

DAKOTA HUDSON, RHP

KWANG HYUN KIM, LHP

CARLOS MARTINEZ, RHP

With a taste for wide-brim hats and bolo ties, he’s still more dealer than gambler, but always has a strike up his sleeve. No need to reshuffle rotation as he’s recovered from strained forearm.

King of the curve, veteran threw a higher percentage of “Uncle Charlies” than any pitcher in the NL. Flipped 1,127 curves to his 1,149 fastballs in 2019.

Greediest groundergetter in the majors, Hudson benefited from defense shifting around the diamond. His power sinker has the game’s highest groundball rate since his pro debut.

One of Korea’s steadiest starters, lefty has a feel for pitching in spades. His savviness, slider and deception could give Cardinals their first regular lefty since 2016.

A wild card after unreliable health and results repurposed him as closer, AllStar’s 3.22 ERA since becoming a starter in 2015 ranks 11th for active players.

seasons were sturdy, but he didn’t have the fashionable, supercharged fastball to rate as a leading prospect. That’s fine. He wasn’t out to impress radar guns. What he had was a competitive cayenne, a plan, and the attention of his pitching coaches. “There are guys, as a pitching coach, you know you’ve got to keep an eye on, make sure he’s working on this or not doing that,” said Jason Simontacchi, the former Cardinal who was Flaherty’s coach at Class AA Springfield in 2017. “Not Jack. Jack was one of those guys where you know it was his game, and you could become a fan watching and seeing how he’s going to deal. He was kind of the underdog there, but, dude, when a guy got to second, he went into fifth gear and, no, he isn’t scoring. That’s when you saw it. Jack was on a mission.” The same year Flaherty made his Class AA debut, he threw his first pitch at Class AAA, appeared in the Futures Game, and ended the season with a start in the majors. His accelerated rise matched that of his fastball. A scouting report entering 2017 pegged him as an 89-92 mph pitcher. He averaged 93.4 mph by season’s end, and by 2019 was up to 94.3 mph. The wait for his velocity was over, fast. In August and September — when he became the first Cardinal to win NL pitcher of the month twice in the same year and in back-to-back months — he averaged 95.2 mph. At Wrigley Field in September, during an eight-inning win, his 118th and final pitch was 97.6 mph. The faith to unleash the fastball came only after a first half spent searching for mechanics and consistency. Counts kept collapsing on him. Innings mushroomed. And even after the game against the Giants his ERA floated at 4.64. Of the 78 starters who qualified for the ERA race at the break, only 16 had a higher ERA than

Flaherty’s. In early July, as he readied for a start in Seattle, the sudden death of close friend and Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs left Flaherty mourning. Looking for answers on the mound, he found direction off it. Hamill, who represented both players, said he saw Flaherty “learn to embrace the moment, relish it, because he had new perspective.” Adam Wainwright visited Flaherty in his hotel room the night after Skaggs’ death, and the veteran would later tell Shildt how the young righthander was ready for the next day’s start but would struggle or throw a no-hitter, no in between. “And it was like the next two months every time he went out there he might throw a no-hitter today,” Wainwright said. “His level of focus went a tick up, like I’m competing now in the memory of a friend. With Jack, there was always an edginess to him. It was a controlled anger, and you could sense it coming off of him. But he wasn’t mad at the world. It was more like, ‘I’m fixing to show the world I’m in control and you don’t have a chance.’” As he pitched his way toward Maddux and Arrieta, Flaherty allowed one or fewer runs in 13 of his final 16 starts. More assertive with his four-seam fastball, he allowed two homers to righthanded hitters the entire second half, none in seven starts at Busch Stadium. Aggressive with his choice slider to both lefties and righthanders, Flaherty allowed fewer batters to reach base (76) than he struck out. Put another way, opponents’ total bases, walks, and hit batters added up to 101. He struck out 124. He K’d 231 for the season. Only Bob Gibson has had more in a single season as a Cardinal. And Flaherty did all that at a time of swollen offense. Arrieta’s celebrated second half with the Cubs and his 0.75 ERA

came in a year when only one team scored more than 765 runs. Flaherty’s came in a summer when the league average was 782 runs. “I look at you and think you’re a bad man on the mound,” Holliday told him in the podcast. Flaherty has increasingly talked about using his “platform” for good, and he has looked to be an active part of generating interest in youth baseball and inspiring more African-American boys to play the game. He is emerging as a new, prominent face of the game — a talented pitcher who, twice renewed by the Cardinals, also personifies the suppressed salaries of young players. He’s utilized social media in recent months to skewer the laborious negotiations between owners and players, and also draw attention to social justice causes. A friend of his described how “everything is coming together at once for him.” That includes becoming the sum of his mentors. He has pages in his journal filled with advice from Wainwright. He texts with Carpenter, emails with Gibson, and was poised to chase them all when his opening day start was pushed back — until now. He’s done waiting. An ace delayed is not an ace denied. “There’s like this calmness to him and then under the surface you see an urgency to be great,” starter Miles Mikolas said. “At first, he just wanted to be the best of himself. Now he’s realized when he’s at his best — well, he’s probably one of the best in the league, if not the best pitcher in the league. You see that look in his face, and he may want it more than everybody else. “That’s one reason he’s going to get it.” Derrick Goold @dgoold on Twitter dgoold@post-dispatch.com

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BASEBALL PREVIEW

07.19.2020 • SUNDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S7

ZERO YEARS UNKIND Historically, Cardinals teams have accomplished little in years ending in zero BY RICK HUMMEL

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

he Cardinals have been the gold standard for the National League in the past 20 years, placing themselves in 10 league championship series and four World Series. But, now as we begin the ’20s, we look back and see that very little team-wise has happened in a ‘0’ year, which either starts the decade or ends it, depending on your perspective. Yet, there were Hall of Famers galore. In the past two centuries, the Cardinals have won the National League pennant in 1930 but lost the World Series in six games to the Philadelphia Athletics. And they won their division in 2000 and took a playoff round from Atlanta before losing in the National League championship series in five games to the New York Mets. But they really haven’t come close to contending in any of the other years ending in ‘0,’ beginning with the 20th century opener of 1900 when they were 65-75 and finished 19 games out of first place. One of the highlights that year was that Dan McGann was hit by more pitches (24) than times he struck out (20). The Cardinals were 40½ games out of first place in the National League in 1910, 18 out in 1920 and 16 in arrears in 1940. But the 1910 club had a Hall of Famer in infielder Miller Huggins, who later managed the great New York Yankees teams. In 1910, Huggins walked 116 times and fanned just 46 times, which is a direct opposite of most players today. And both the 1920 and 1940 clubs had Hall of Famers, with Rogers Hornsby driving in 94 runs in 1920 and Johnny Mize hitting a league-leading 43 homers in 1940. The 1930 pennant winners had no fewer than six Hall of Famers in “Sunny Jim” Bottomley, Frankie Frisch, Chick Hafey, Jesse “Pop” Haines, Burleigh Grimes and a 20-year-old kid named Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean, who pitched one game, a nine-inning complete-game victory. In 1950, the Cardinals wound up 12½ games out, and in 1960 they were nine games behind Pittsburgh. Each team, though non-champions, had two Hall of Famers. Stan Musial was on both, driving in 109 runs in 1950 and Enos Slaughter 101 that year. In 1960, there was also a 24-year-old pitcher who would gain prominence a little later. Bob Gibson was 3-6 that year. The 1970 club was a fourth-place team in its division, finishing 13 games behind,

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Cardinals rookie Marty Marion and the 1940 team finished 16 games out that year. despite having a stunning five future Hall of Famers in Gibson, Joe Torre, Ted Simmons, Lou Brock and Steve Carlton. And the Cardinals were 17 out in 1980 when Whitey Herzog took over for Ken Boyer, then stepped down to become general manager and then hired himself back as manager after the season. Simmons wound up his Cardinals career on this club, and Herzog would become a Hall of Famer, too. Herzog’s run lasted a decade and, though there was considerable success in the middle, the 1990 club limped home at 70-92 and in last place in the National League East Division, 25 games behind. By early July, Herzog had seen enough of his

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team, which was set to lose several players to free agency, and called it quits, never to manage again. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith couldn’t help much, nor could Hall of Fame reliever Lee Smith, who had 27 saves. The 2000 division title team and the 2010 team both were skippered by Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, and the latter team had two potential Hall of Famers in Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina. The 2010 team finished 86-76 and only five games out of the division lead, but the horse was out of the barn by the time the Cardinals started their surge in which they won seven of their last eight games to cut a 6½ deficit to five. If you want to know the best years for Cardinals team, take the number ‘4.’ The Cardinals have been in the postseason five times in seasons ending in ‘4.’ They won the 1934, 1944 and 1964 World Series, lost the 2004 World Series and lost the National League Championship Series in 2014. Those teams combined for 23 postseason wins, compared to five totaled for the 1930 and 2000 clubs, the only ‘0’ teams that played in the postseason. Rick Hummel @cmshhummel on Twitter rhummel@post-dispatch.com

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Cardinals in the first year of decade Year W-L %

Playoffs

2010 86-76 .531 — 2000 95-67 .586 Lost NLCS to NYM 4-1 1990 70-92 .432 — 1980 74-88 .457 — 1970 76-86 .469 — 1960 86-68 .558 — 1950 78-75 .510 — 1940 84-69 .549 — 1930 92-62 .597 Lost World Series to Philadelphia Athletics 4-2 1920 75-79 .487 — 1910 63-90 .412 — 1900 65-75 .464 — Source: baseball-reference.com

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M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

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BASEBALL PREVIEW

S10 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

WIDE-OPEN FIELD Cincinnati dominated the offseason while the Cards, Cubs and Brewers stood pat BY RICK HUMMEL

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

S

ince the National League Central Division came into being in 1994, the Cardinals have won 11 of the 25 divisional crowns and 10 of the past 20. The Pittsburgh Pirates have won none of the 25 divisional titles and haven’t won any division since 1992, when they captured the National League East with 2020 Hall of Famer Ted Simmons, longtime Cardinals star, as their general manager. As the next quarter century in the division begins, the Cardinals are a lot better bet to get to 12 before the Pirates get to one. The Chicago Cubs have won five Central titles in 25 years, Cincinnati three and Milwaukee two. If you’re adding these up, that leaves four unaccounted for, and they belong to the Houston Astros before they were dispatched to the American League and ultimate ignominy, having something to do with trash cans. Much of the offseason buzz sur-

The Cardinals will win if ... It starts at the top. The Cardinals and the Cubs were the worst teams in the majors last season in batting average, onbase percentage and OPS from their leadoff men. Kolten Wong, an emerging star, will get a chance to fix that as the Cardinals’ new No. 1 hitter. It ends at the end. With closer Jordan Hicks opting out of the season, the Cardinals must cobble together a late-inning bullpen system that can lock down leads. They could find themselves involved in a lot of close games that will be low-run affairs because of their good starting pitching and their unpredictable offense. The Cardinals will not win if ... They don’t replace the threat of departed Marcell Ozuna in the cleanup spot, don’t get bounceback years from Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler and if Carlos Martinez does not stay healthy. He’s a good bet to start the season in that closer role.

AARON DOSTER, AP PHOTO

The Reds’ Mike Moustakas, front, catches a fly ball in front of Nicholas Castellanos in an intrasquad game in Cincinnati. Both newcomers bring big bats along with questionable defense.

The Cubs will win if ... Yu Darvish finally recaptures — and maintains — the form that made him one of the American League’s best pitchers. Kris Bryant, in perhaps his final year as a Cub, knocks in more runs. He tallied just 77 RBIs last year. The Cubs will not win if ... Craig Kimbrel, one of the top closers in history, doesn’t pitch any better than he did last year for the Cubs, when he was 0-4 with a 6.53 ERA after Chicago signed him in the summertime. And if Jon Lester acts his age. At 35, Lester tailed off a bit, winning only 13 games and posting a 4.46 ERA. Now he is a 36-yearold ace whose favorite catcher with Boston and the Cubs has become his manager. Ross may have some anxious moments as to when to pull the plug on a Lester start.

The Brewers will win if ... Christian Yelich plays a full season or what amounts to a full season now. They almost won last year when Yelich missed the final three weeks with a broken kneecap. He is signed for longer than any other current player — through 2029. Counsell, a master at changing pitchers in the course of innings, finds enough pitchers he can trust to get three outs at a time. And if one-time lockdown closer Corey Knebel bounces back from Tommy John elbow surgery. The Brewers will not win if ... Their starting pitching isn’t good enough. They’re counting on Brandon Woodruff (11-3 in 2019), who has less than two years of service, to be their ace.

rounds Cincinnati, which made several significant free-agent signings, headlined by third baseman/second baseman Mike Moustakas and outfielder Nicholas Castellanos after landing topline starter Trevor Bauer in an in-season trade with Cleveland last year. There was little offseason buzz in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis, where scant free-agent or trade activity took place other than the Cubs signing former player/telecaster David Ross as their new manager. Ross has never managed before, but neither had Craig Counsell before he took over the Brewers in 2015. He’s had them in the playoffs the past two seasons, one of those as division champions in 2018. Derek Shelton, Pittsburgh’s new skipper, never has managed above short-season ball, but he isn’t likely to match what Counsell has done any time soon. A look at the Central Division for 2020 and how each team can win. Or not.

The Reds will win if ... Their new-look offense, with free agents Moustakas and Castellanos, helps a talented starting corps and bullpen. It used to be the other way around here, with the offense carrying the mail and the pitching desperately trying to keep the ball in the park. The Reds will not win if ... Their right-side defense is compromised with Moustakas at second base and Castellanos in right field, although Castellanos may DH. Both are sub-par defenders. It helps that the Reds rotation is a strikeout-type staff. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who had 49 homers in 2019, has trouble with his surgically repaired shoulder stemming from an offseason swimming pool accident. The extra four months off should have helped him.

The Pirates will win if ... Barry Bonds, Roberto Clemente and Honus Wagner return. Bonds, in fact, played on the last division champion Pirates team in 1992. The Pirates will not win if ... Their pitching does not hold up. Jameson Tallion and Chris Archer already are out until next season after Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, respectively. Their hitting does not hold up. The lineup, not a deep one anyway, will be weakened by the trade of Starling Marte to Arizona. Willie Stargell, John Candelaria and Doug Drabek don’t come back either. Rick Hummel @cmshhummel on Twitter rhummel@post-dispatch.com

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BASEBALL PREVIEW

07.19.2020 • SUNDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S11

BREAKING DOWN THE NL CENTRAL Kris Bryant

Ryan Braun

CHICAGO CUBS

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

If the Cubs start badly, the Kris Bryant trade rumors will intensify. With a starting staff long in the tooth and little behind it in the minors, the Cubs’ window for a championship with this group may be slamming shut. Theo Epstein is on the clock.

Ryan Braun’s contract expires after this season. Now a 36-year-old outfielder/first baseman/DH, Braun, who hit .285 last year, is in his 14th season with the Brewers and will have made $140 million by the end of the season. There is a $15 million option for 2021 with a $4 million buyout.

CARDINALS Kwang Hyun Kim might be the sleeper freeagent acquisition of the offseason. Until the opposition draws a better bead on him, there will be an awfully lot of bad-looking swings at the lefthander who throws four pitches. He should start the season in the rotation but could move to the bullpen, if needed.

LAURIE SKRIVAN, LSKRIVAN@POST-DISPATCH.COM AND ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOS

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

CINCINNATI REDS

No team has gone longer without a division title than the Pirates, who have had 27 consecutive years without one. The Colorado Rockies and Florida/Miami Marlins also haven’t won a division in 27 years — the entire existence of both franchises — but the Marlins have two World Series titles.

Joey Votto also is 36 and in his 13th season in Cincinnati. He is fading, having hit just 27 homers total the past two seasons and driving in only 47 runs in 2019, when he batted .261. Unlike Braun’s expiring contract, the Reds are on the hook for $107 million for Votto through 2023, with an option for 2024.

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BASEBALL PREVIEW

S12 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

2019 CARDINALS STATS PITCHING Name

W-L

ERA

BATTING IP

H

BB

SO

Name

PA

R

H

2B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

SO

BA

Jack Flaherty

11-8

2.75

196.1

135

55

231

Paul Goldschmidt

682

97

155

25

34

97

3

78

166

.260

Miles Mikolas

9-14

4.16

184.0

193

32

144

Paul DeJong

664

97

136

31

30

78

9

62

149

.233

Dakota Hudson

16-7

3.35

174.2

160

86

136

Dexter Fowler

574

69

116

24

19

67

8

74

142

.238

14-10

4.19

171.2

181

64

153

Marcell Ozuna

549

80

117

23

29

89

12

62

114

.241

6-7

4.76

126.2

143

55

104

Kolten Wong

549

61

136

25

11

59

24

47

83

.285

452

45

113

24

10

57

6

23

58

.270

Adam Wainwright Michael Wacha Giovanny Gallegos

3-2

2.31

74.0

44

16

93

Yadier Molina

John Brebbia

3-4

3.59

72.2

59

27

87

Matt Carpenter

492

59

94

20

15

46

6

63

129

.226

John Gant

11-1

3.66

66.1

51

34

60

Harrison Bader

406

54

71

14

12

39

11

46

117

.205

Tyler Webb

2-1

3.76

55.0

33

23

48

Jose Martinez

373

45

90

13

10

42

3

35

82

.269

349

59

99

17

11

36

15

16

61

.304

Andrew Miller

5-6

4.45

54.2

45

27

70

Tommy Edman

Daniel Ponce de Leon

1-2

3.70

48.2

36

26

52

Yairo Munoz

181

20

46

7

2

13

8

7

37

.267

Carlos Martinez

4-2

3.17

48.1

39

18

53

Matt Wieters

183

15

36

4

11

27

1

12

47

.214

Dominic Leone

1-0

5.53

40.2

39

22

46

Tyler O’Neill

151

18

37

6

5

16

1

10

53

.262

62

5

11

0

2

7

2

6

14

.196

Ryan Helsley

2-0

2.95

36.2

34

12

32

Jedd Gyorko

Jordan Hicks

2-2

3.14

28.2

16

11

31

Andrew Knizner

58

7

12

2

2

7

2

4

14

.226

Genesis Cabrera

0-2

4.87

20.1

23

11

19

Rangel Ravelo

43

4

8

2

2

7

0

3

12

.205

Mike Mayers

0-1

6.63

19.0

21

11

16

Lane Thomas

44

6

12

0

4

12

1

4

8

.316

16

Randy Arozarena

23

4

6

1

1

2

2

2

4

.300

Junior Fernandez

0-1

5.40

11.2

9

6

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ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S13

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S14 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

BASEBALL PREVIEW

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

STLTODAY.COM LIVE CARDINALS CHATS FOR SUBSCRIBERS Baseball writer Derrick Goold fields Cardinals questions and comments from Post-Dispatch subscribers at 1 p.m. every Monday. When Goold is on another assignment, Hall of Famer Rick Hummel hosts the chat. stltoday.com/sports

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BASEBALL PREVIEW

07.19.2020 • SUNDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S15

CARDINALS 2020 SCHEDULE JULY

Home

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

19

20

21

22 FSM 23 vs. K.C. (exhib.) 3:05 p.m.

26

FSM 27 vs. Pirates 1:15 p.m.

28

FSM 29 at Twins 7:10 p.m.

Thursday

FSM 30 at Twins 7:10 p.m.

Friday

FSM 25 vs. Pirates 7:15 p.m.

31

FSM at Brewers 1:10 p.m.

Home

Monday

Wednesday

Thursday

FSM 6 vs. Tigers 7:15 p.m.

Friday

FSM 5 at Tigers 12:10 p.m.

ESPN 10 vs. Cubs 6:08 p.m.

FSM 11 vs. Pirates 7:15 p.m.

FSM 12 vs. Pirates 7:15 p.m.

16

FSM 17 at White Sox 1:10 p.m.

FSM 18 at Cubs 7:15 p.m.

FSM 19 at Cubs 7:15 p.m.

FSM 20 at Cubs 7:15 p.m.

FSM 21 vs. Reds 7:15 p.m.

23

FSM 24 vs. Reds 1:15 p.m.

FSM 25 vs. Royals 7:15 p.m.

FSM 26 vs. Royals 7:15 p.m.

FSM 27 vs. Royals 7:15 p.m.

28

30

FSM 31 vs. Cleveland 1:15 p.m.

9

FSM 3 at Brewers 1:10 p.m.

Tuesday

FSM 4 at Tigers 6:10 p.m.

2

FSM 7 vs. Tigers 7:15 p.m.

6

Away

1

FSM at Brewers 6:10 p.m.

FSM 8 vs. Cubs 7:15 p.m.

FSM vs. Cubs 7:15 p.m.

15

FSM at White Sox 1:10 p.m.

FSM 22 vs. Reds 7:15 p.m.

FSM vs. Reds 7:15 p.m.

FSM 29 FOX vs. Cleveland vs. Cleveland 7:15 p.m. 12:15 p.m.

FSM at Reds 5:40 p.m.

Home

Monday

ESPN 7 at Cubs 6:08 p.m.

FSM vs. Pirates 1:15 p.m.

Saturday

FSM 13 FOX 14 vs. Pirates at White Sox* 1:15 p.m. 6:15 p.m.

SEPTEMBER Sunday

Saturday

24

AUGUST Sunday

Away

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Away

Saturday

1

FSM 2 at Reds 5:40 p.m.

FSM 3 at Reds 5:40 p.m.

4

FSM 5 at Cubs 7:15 p.m.

FSM at Cubs 7:15 p.m.

FSM 8 at Cubs 3:10 p.m.

FSM 9 vs. Twins 7:15 p.m.

FSM 10 vs. Twins 7:15 p.m.

11

FSM 12 vs. Reds 7:15 p.m.

FSM vs. Reds 7:15 p.m.

13

FSM 14 vs. Reds 1:15 p.m.

FSM 15 at Brewers 6:40 p.m.

FSM 16 at Brewers 6:40 p.m.

FSM 17 at Brewers 6:40 p.m.

FSM 18 at Pirates 6:05 p.m.

FSM 19 at Pirates 6:05 p.m.

FSM at Pirates 6:05 p.m.

20

FSM 21 at Pirates TBA

FSM 22 at Royals 7:05 p.m.

FSM 23 at Royals 7:05 p.m.

FSM 24 at Royals 7:05 p.m.

FSM 25 vs. Brewers 7:15 p.m.

FSM 26 vs. Brewers 7:15 p.m.

FOX vs. Brewers 6:07 p.m.

27

FSM 28 vs. Brewers 2:15 p.m.

29

30

NOTES All game times are St. Louis times and subject to change. TV: FSM: Fox Sports Midwest; ESPN; FOX: KTVI (Ch. 2) * Aug. 13 game played in Dyersville, Iowa (Field of Dreams)

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BASEBALL PREVIEW

S16 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

SP Led by Jack Flaherty, rotation’s depth may give edge

ACE IS JACKED BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE?

STARTERS BY THE NUMBERS

How the Cardinals’ starting pitching It depends in part as to whether the strength in stacked up last year as a team. Carlos Martinez’s right shoulder is back (Martinez says he is). Thus, the Cardinals may have another ace 3.78 77.2% to go with Jack Flaherty if Martinez has recovered the ERA, third-best in NL left on base, t-first form that made him a National League All-Star in 2015 and 2017. He may be needed more in the bullpen at the start of the season if Giovanny Gallegos isn’t ready. 48% 93.1 Then there is righthander Dakota Hudson, whose Groundball rate, best Fastball speed, fourth 16 wins were highest for any rookie in 2019. Miles Mikolas, who would have missed the start of the original schedule because of a flexor tendon issue, is 18.1% 91 likely to return nearly full-bore. Curve usage, second DPs induced, first Mikolas may not be the 18-4 pitcher he was in 2018 after coming back from Japan, but he probably is better than the 9-14 mark he put up last season. Adam Wainwright, at age 38, looked good both in the spring and in the summer. The Cardinals also could start lefthander Kwang Hyun Kim, a South Korean free agent who was signed to a two-year deal. And in the wings is righthander Daniel Ponce de Leon, who was impressive at times this past season and even more so in spring training. Whichever of that latter tandem is not starting could be a key member of the bullpen. Kim would have no trouble picking up innings. The 31-year-old logged 190 1/3 innings in the Korean Baseball Organization last year while making 30 starts. It all begins, though, with the 24-year-old Flaherty, who posted a remarkable 0.91 ERA in the second half and finished at 2.75, meriting a fourth-place nod in the National League Cy Young voting. In five of his eight losses, which included a 1-0 defeat at San Francisco when he had a no-hitter into the seventh, Flaherty received zero runs of support. He has the ability, he has the determination, and like many of the greats, he has the swagger. Miles Mikolas >

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY? The Cardinals have more depth than most teams, so as to cover injuries or those who were compromised by coronavirus testing protocols. In addition to Kim and Ponce de Leon, there are hard-throwing lefthander Genesis Cabrera, who made a couple of starts last year, and lefthander Austin Gomber, who was 4-0 at Memphis before encountering biceps problems, which effectively ended his season. But this spring Gomber looked much like the pitcher who won seven games in 2018 for the Jack Cardinals, including five in August. Cabrera was set Flaherty back by a second positive coronavirus test. Righthander John Gant, who won 11 games as a reliever last year, has starting experience for the Cardinals, and righthander Jake Woodford was Memphis’ top starter in 2019. Then there is the wild card in righthander Alex Reyes, still just 25, who has pitched only 67 1/3 innings in the past three seasons due to injury and surgery. But Reyes also was a late starter because of the testing protocols. He likely would begin the season in the bullpen if he makes the 30-man roster. The reality is that the Cardinals have enough depth to use two potential starters in almost every game, which could enable them to cover more innings than most other clubs. Alex Reyes >

RP Bullpen has plenty of power arms but key pieces are missing

ARMS GALORE BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? There are many power arms in the relief corps and more lefthanders from which to choose than in many years. But much of this year’s success will depend on how available and productive 35-year-old Andrew Miller is. For much of spring training, Miller didn’t have the “feel” for the ball that he would like, and his command was spotty at best, although he said he felt better at the end of spring and felt fine in the early stages of summer camp. While not quite what the club expected in the first year of his two-year (plus an option) deal in 2019, he did work in 73 games and saved some of his best work for last when compiling a save, a win and a hold in a key fourgame sweep at Chicago in September. If Miller is compromised, Tyler Webb, who mostly had a strong season in 2019, would be the primary lefthanded reliever. Webb seems to be a perfect fit for the new rule whereby relievers have to face at least three batters. He was first among all major-league pitchers in lowest bat-

From left: Tyler Webb, Junior Fernandez, Andrew Miller, Kwang Hyun Kim

ting average against by lefthanded hitters at .157 and he was fifth among lefthanders against righthanded batters at .189. Lefthander Genesis Cabrera, who can throw in the high 90s, could be a factor if he reaches form after being sidelined by a pair of positive tests for coronavirus. And southpaw Austin Gomber, thought of mostly as a starter, relieved some for the Cardinals in 2018. Korean lefthander Kwang Hyun Kim was signed to a two-year contract with the understanding that he might relieve and start. Then there is Brett Cecil, who on the final year of his $30.5 million, four-year contract, indicated he was healthy this spring although still without a plus fastball. He suffered a hamstring injury in the next-to-last spring game but seems to have overcome that and thinks he is better able to compete because of his new sidearm delivery. From the right side, there is even more depth, although that was com-

promised when on Monday Jordan Hicks — he of the 100 mph-plus fastball and two varieties of sliders — opted out of the season due to his risk level to coronavirus as a Type 1 diabetic. He was going to be out until August, anyway, as he worked his way back from Tommy John elbow surgery. Giovanny Gallegos, who was delayed in reporting to summer camp, was an outstanding setup man last season, allowing just 44 hits and 16 walks in 74 innings while striking out 93 and holding opponents to a .170 batting average. Former independent league pitcher John Brebbia had put together three solid seasons, but he’s out after Tommy John surgery this spring. John Gant scored 11 wins in relief last season. Ryan Helsley is capable of throwing 100 miles an hour and has a breaking ball, too. Helsley, who was on the postseason roster last season, is considered starter material down the line if he gets a third pitch, but he might be the closer at the start of the season.

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY? Alex Reyes, who was not on the field when camp started, would like to start and the Cardinals ultimately want him to start but it appears he would open the season as a reliever if he is on the club. At some point, hardthrowing righthander Junior Fernandez, impressive in several lateseason outings, will get a chance at late innings. And righthander Kodi Whitley, who also has a searing fastball and tore through three levels of the minor league system last year, might join him. The most likely scenario would be that Gallegos, if conditioned, would have most of the early-season closing assignments, rendering others like Helsley and Miller as setup men. But with starting pitchers not likely to work more than four or five innings at a time, there seems room for three or even four relievers to appear in almost every game. When the season starts and the rosters are at 30 players, the Cardinals could have 12 or even 13 pitchers in the bullpen on a 16- or 17-man staff. Kodi Whitley >

Kwang Hyun Kim


BASEBALL PREVIEW

07.19.2020 • SUNDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S17

CL With Hicks out, team has other options for role

GROUP EFFORT BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? Jordan Hicks, who knocked off 14 saves by mid-June last season, was expected to be able to help sometime in August, 13 months-plus after his Tommy John elbow surgery. But he won’t be plugged into that closer role until next year as he has chosen to opt out of this season because of his Type 1 diabetes that puts him at risk. Andrew Miller has the most career saves of anybody else in the bullpen at 58, but he had issues this spring with his lack of “feel” for the baseball, which set his workload back. Even though he appears to be all right now, it isn’t clear what can be expected of him. Manager Mike Shildt and pitching coach Mike Maddux seemed intent on righthander Giovanny Gallegos being the ninth-inning pitcher, but Gallegos had mixed results when working ninth innings in the first training camp and was delayed getting into the second one as he wasn’t allowed to leave his native Mexico during the coronavirus pandemic. The tea leaves had pointed to some sort of confederation involving Gallegos, Ryan Helsley, Miller, Tyler Webb and Miller. Buzz-bombing Junior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley were here for the second camp, and one or both could be on the roster at some point, especially when it is at 30. But the easiest answer might be to go with the closer who had 24 saves last season, Carlos Martinez. The two-time All-Star had come to both camps this year intent on showing he was strong enough to rejoin the rotation and he displayed that form and intensity. Martinez would be reluctant to return to the bullpen but the need is there and he could provide multiple innings. Could Alex Reyes do it? His arm, rarely used in the past three years because of injury, probably isn’t conditioned enough to try the closer role. Nor is his command there yet. But the stuff plays. He missed the first 10 days of training camp, though.

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY?

Groundball getter Carlos Martinez tallied a career-best groundball percentage last year as the MLB average declined.

Martinez: 56.5%

50%

MLB average: 44.5%

45%

40% 2013

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

After decades of the club having a lockdown closer, from Al Hrabosky to Bruce Sutter to Todd Worrell to Lee Smith to Tom Henke to Dennis Eckersley to Jason Motte to Trevor Rosenthal, the Cardinals really have little inkling how this role will evolve this year. Do they have to have a closer? Ideally, yes, if it is Martinez. But there are other ways to go — by matchups, whether it is by team or opposCarlos ing hitter, late in the game. Martinez The Cardinals do seem to have a high number of relievers who are effective against both righthanded and lefthanded pitching. That comes into play both with the new rule that a pitcher has to face three batters and in the ninth inning when the opposition will be pulling out all stops to get its best hitters to the plate. And, now for the one name that hasn’t been mentioned in this role. Kwang Hyun “KK” Kim. The veteran lefthander has been a starter for almost all his career in Korea and hopes to be that here. But in the spring he displayed the ability to throw quality strikes with a variety of pitches. And, in the big picture, throwing strikes is what relief pitching is all about. He has been conditioned as a starter in the second camp, too, and that’s where he’ll start the season. But you still might see him in the late innings if other options don’t work out. Martinez, however, still is the best option.

Kwang Hyun Kim >

OF Outfield must boost production to improve stagnant offense

PUNCH NEEDED

Dexter Fowler

BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? Ultimately it depends on how long it takes Dylan Carlson to reach the expectations heaped upon him from outside and certainly from within the organization, although club executives are hesitant to say too much too soon. The switch-hitting Carlson projects best as a corner outfielder, and the 21-year-old was not at all overmatched for much of spring training as he hit close to .400 with power and was on base half of the time before he tailed off at the end, as his playing time did, also. But if he were to stay up, he would have to play. If the Cardinals don’t view him as a regular yet, they should send him back to the second summer camp in Springfield, Mo., to be on alert for the call that is sure to come. The Texas League Player of the Year, Carlson tore up the Pacific Coast League for three weeks last season, hitting .361 in 18 games with five home runs. Dexter Fowler, who is making $17.5 million this year and next, will get the benefit because of his experience — and his salary — and will start in right field. Harrison Bader, who dipped to .205 after batting .260 the year before, showed better plate discipline this spring. The Cardinals don’t have anything close to him defensively in center. Lane Thomas performed solidly in the spring, and Tyler O’Neill had his moments and either could be a starter, with O’Neill more likely because he did well batting fourth for the Cardinals last season when Marcell Ozuna was out with a finger injury. Bader has the pluses of power and speed. He could be a 20-20 man in a typical full season if he could stay in the lineup often enough to hit 20 homers. O’Neill also runs well, and Thomas runs at a better than average clip. But O’Neill has big strikeout numbers in his brief résumé, as does Bader. The 34-year-old Fowler had bad numbers this spring, batting just .097 in 31 at-bats.

DEXTER FOWLER’S 2019 STATS .238 AVERAGE 67 RBI

142 KS 24 DOUBLES

1 TRIPLE

116 HITS

8 STEALS

74 WALKS 19 HOME RUNS

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY? If a couple of the regular outfielders don’t pan out, Tommy Edman will come into play. He had one less homer than Bader in 21 fewer at-bats and hit 99 points better. Edman wouldn’t replace Bader in center and never has started in center or left, having made all 11 of his outfield starts in right field last year. But manager Mike Shildt would find a place for him. The various candidates all would hit in a different spot in the lineup. If Carlson plays, he could hit second or sixth. Bader likely will bat ninth, with the pitchers not having to hit, and he could join Kolten Wong as back-to-back base-stealing threats when the lineup turns over. O’Neill could hit fifth or sixth. Fowler sixth or seventh, with a possibility of first and second. Thomas could hit anywhere from seventh to ninth. None of the outfielders has to drive in runs like Ozuna, but all should be able to approach his .330 on-base percentage. One of the statistics that might surprise is that Fowler hit a career-high 19 home runs in 2019, four from the right side where he was awful the year before. But, even last year, Fowler hit only .211 righthanded and might sit against a number of lefthanders. The urgency on the outfielders to produce is real because this likely is the weakest offensive component on the club. Harrison Bader >


BASEBALL PREVIEW

S18 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

1B Reliable Paul Goldschmidt looks to produce even more in 2020

GOLDY GETS IT BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? If you’ve kept track of Paul Goldschmidt for the past five years, you will see that he has played between 155 and 161 games every year and, in fact, he has done that in six of the past seven seasons. That is the ultimate in dependability. In a season of 60 games, he could play them all with the luxury of giving him a quasi day off as a designated hitter. Goldschmidt also has hit 30 or more homers in four of those five seasons, including 34 in his first year with the Cardinals. The outlier last season was his batting average. After successive seasons with Arizona of .286, ,.302, .300, .321, .297, .297 and .290, he dipped to .260 in 2019, with 166 strikeouts and an OPS under .900 for the first time since 2012. He drew only 88 walks. Goldschmidt, 32, may be on the back side of his career, but he and the Cardinals expect an uptick. It’s probable that Goldschmidt will hit third after starting the 2019 season as the No. 2 hitter, but with few RBI chances because the leadoff hitters weren’t getting on. Thus, he was “limited” to 97 RBIs when 100 or more were expected. Yet, while Goldschmidt is a key to the offense, as much or more he was the key to a defense that went from making the most errors in baseball to the fewest last season. Not only was Goldschmidt tracking down off-line throws, but he was covering ground that a Cardinals first baseman hadn’t since Albert Pujols. Settled in as a Cardinal in Year Two, Goldschmidt should be a more relaxed player and a more productive one, with 10 to 12 homers and 40 to 45 RBIs as conservative estimates. And maybe he’ll even run more this year. Having stolen 124 bases in his career before coming to the Cardinals, Goldschmidt tried to steal just four times last year, making it three times.

P. GOLDSCHMIDT’S 2019 STATS .260 AVERAGE 97 RBI

166 KS 25 DOUBLES

1 TRIPLE

155 HITS

3 STEALS

78 WALKS 34 HOME RUNS

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY? Now that Goldschmidt has found that Busch Stadium doesn’t offer up the extra home runs, he might settle for having more doubles. Goldschmidt had only 25 two-base hits in 2019 after seven years with at least 33. He won’t have Marcell Ozuna as a threat behind him in the lineup, but Goldschmidt was impatient enough last year when he fanned so often that it may not matter who hits behind him. Goldschmidt needs to improve plate discipline so he can hit ahead in the count more and draw closer to the prorated average of the 103 walks he had in the four preceding seasons. Should there be an injury to Goldschmidt, the Cardinals’ Plan B would be Rangel Ravelo, a longtime minor-leaguer who showed pinch-hitting ability for the Cardinals in 2019, plus the ability to play a good defensive first base. But, if Goldschmidt was injured and missed considerable time, the Cardinals’ season might wind up in the dumper anyway, although non-roster player John Nogowski, who hit .295 at Class AAA Memphis last spring and showed both offensive and defensive skills this spring, could help.

Paul Goldschmidt

Rangel Ravelo >

2B Speedy Wong improving offensively and is set to hit leadoff

GREEN LIGHT BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? His first Gold Glove confirms that Kolten Wong has reached a defensive pinnacle, but his .285 average and .361 on-base percentage suggest that he is on his way to becoming an elite offensive player. And his durability, which had been questioned before, was not an issue last year as he played 148 games and stayed off the injured list for the first time in three seasons. Wong had reached the point where the club was considering another long-term extension, but the coronavirus and resulting lack of revenue for the Cardinals may complicate that snapshot. His five-year contract has a club option for 2021. Now 29 years old, Wong recaptured his bravado on the bases last season, stealing 24 times in 28 attempts after trying only 11 times (six successful) in 2018 and just 10 (eight successful) the year before. Having the green light helped, and Wong should have more opportunities when he hits first in this year’s lineup. When first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, a threetime Gold Glover, came to St. Louis last season, he instinctively went for balls to his right, only to discover that Wong was already waiting for them. So Goldschmidt can shade even closer to the foul line, knowing that Wong has a good chance of catching or at least knocking down anything else headed on the ground to right field. Wong led all National League second baseman in assists with 412 and, sure-handed with quick feet and a strong arm, he can turn double plays with anyone, finishing second in double plays last year at 103. For the second consecutive season, Wong was a terror in the second half, which speaks in large part to his conditioning. After hitting .317 following the All-Star break in 2018, Wong batted .342 after the break in 2019, ranking fifth in the league. Perfecting another weapon he didn’t always use, Wong also led the league with 10 bunt singles last year.

KOLTEN WONG’S 2019 STATS .285 AVERAGE 59 RBI

83 KS 25 DOUBLES

4 TRIPLES

136 HITS

24 STEALS

47 WALKS 11 HOME RUNS

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY? Barring injury, Wong should be good for 55 to 60 appearances and his game against lefthanded pitching has improved to the point where he no longer needs to be platooned. He actually hit higher against southpaws in 2019, at .288. It would seem time for Wong to be chosen to his first All-Star team. When he was signed, it was mostly because of his offense, with his defense an emerging commodity. But those two have meshed. A team leader in his 10th season in the organization, Wong is an energetic player, and that is likely to rub off on his teammates, especially now that he is on the field every day. Having hit 11 homers and knocking in 59 runs last season — both figures just off his career highs — his concentration now will be more on reaching base. His mission, as he sees it, is to hit .300 with an onbase percentage close to .400. Should Wong be injured for an appreciable length of time, versatile Tommy Edman would step in. Veteran Brad Miller also has played considerable second base in his career.

Tommy Edman >

Kolten Wong


BASEBALL PREVIEW

07.19.2020 • SUNDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S19

3B Carpenter says he’s ready to show he’s still a good hitter

PROOF POSITIVE BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? Matt Carpenter is playing for his baseball life this season after his career worst fall to .226 and a stay on the bench last season. But he said this spring, “I’m just one year removed from, arguably, the best season of my career.” Open to interpretation, perhaps, but Carpenter did hit a career-high 36 home runs and had a career-best .897 OPS in 2018. “If I can hit .270 to .280 and get on base at the clip I know I’m capable of, it would be a huge deal to our team. I know I can do it. I KNOW I can do it. There’s no doubt in my mind,” the 34-year-old Carpenter said. To do this, Carpenter will have to do a better job of hitting to left field and not into the stifling shifts he faced last season. But, if he wasn’t hitting leadoff — he probably will bat No. 2 — and he had a basestealing threat (Kolten Wong) in front of him, the shifts wouldn’t be as prominent. That could open more territory for Carpenter. “You would think,” he said. Carpenter, of course, has heard the naysayers all offseason, not that he needed to. “I’ve got a lot to prove to the fans and my team, but most importantly, to me,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to prove, and I’m looking forward to going out and proving it. “I’m really looking forward to playing with this team,” he said. “Outside of the things I want to accomplish, I really think we’re going to be good.” Carpenter says his throwing arm is stronger than it’s been for years and is hopeful it will stay that way so he doesn’t have to shift to first base or second base during the season. His range is adequate. He comes in on the ball well enough, and he actually had a good year defensively last year.

TOMMY EDMAN’S 2019 STATS .304 AVERAGE 36 RBI

61 KS 17 DOUBLES

7 TRIPLES

99 HITS

15 STEALS

16 WALKS 11 HOME RUNS

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY? With the designated hitter in play, Carpenter, at age 34, will assume that role on occasion, opening the door for Tommy Edman to see more time at third, where he did quite well this past season when Carpenter was sat down. Carpenter is a big fan of the versatile switch hitter who captured fans’ fancy last year. “We can get Tommy a lot of at-bats, and he could do it at seven positions,” said Carpenter. “Since the Jon JayDaniel Descalso days, we really haven’t had a bench player you felt comfortable playing every day. He reminds me of myself when I came up in 2012. I had close to 500 at-bats. I wasn’t playing every day but I played a lot.” The Cardinals have invested in Carpenter for this season and next at a total of some $36 million, and he’s going to get every chance to play. But Edman would be a suitable replacement, and lefthanded-hitting Brad Miller, signed as a free agent in February, could play third base, too. Miller, a six-season veteran with as many teams, played a lot of third for Philadelphia at the end of last season and while not particularly proficient defensively, his bat plays. If Carpenter can hit .270 with a high number of doubles, as he projects, he will be the third baseman for 2020, and then the Cardinals would have to decide about what to do with him the year after.

Tommy Edman

Matt Carpenter >

SS DeJong improves defense and could handle cleanup spot

IN GOOD HANDS BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? Paul DeJong reached the 30-homer plateau for the first time last season, his second full year in the big leagues. But where he perhaps has made his biggest mark recently is his defense, which merited him Gold Glove consideration in 2019. It had been thought that DeJong was just passing through as a shortstop before he would wind up at third base, but it seems shortstop will be his address for the foreseeable future. He has worked hard to improve his range and his ability to backhand the ball in the hole. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, a 13-time Gold Glover, offered advice that DeJong would be even better if he regularly moved his feet before the pitch is made to the batter. Playing a whopping 156 games at the position last season, DeJong had the best fielding percentage for shortstops in the National League at .989 and was first in assists, putouts and double plays (119). He might be better offensively, though, if he would get a couple of games off from shortstop — he still could DH in that time — and that is why Tommy Edman will get more of a look in the field. It is asking a lot of a shortstop to play virtually every day and be a productive middle-of-the-lineup hitter. DeJong has done that, hitting 74 home runs in his first 2½ big-league seasons. But his average has dropped from .285 to .241 to .233 in the three seasons, and his OPS was only .762 last year, which isn’t very high for someone who had 30 homers. The 78 RBIs DeJong had last year represented a career high, but he hit just .193 with men in scoring position. If DeJong can hike that mark by even 50 points, he could knock in 45 to 50 runs in a shortened season as the Cardinals’ cleanup hitter. His strike zone discipline has improved. DeJong had 62 walks, which was more than he had the first two seasons combined, but he swung at too many non-strikes early in counts and was punched out 149 times last season. Though not a fast runner, DeJong has learned to be a better one and even stole nine bases last year after having only one in each of his first two seasons. The Illinois State graduate is a sharp, eager student. His desire to improve is easy to discern.

PAUL DeJONG’S 2019 STATS .233 AVERAGE 78 RBI

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY?

149 KS 31 DOUBLES

1 TRIPLE

136 HITS

9 STEALS

62 WALKS 30 HOME RUNS

DeJong gave strong indication in the first training camp that he could fill the cleanup role handled by Marcell Ozuna the previous two seasons. We’ll see, in the summer heat, if manager Mike Shildt will give DeJong as much rest defensively as he would have over a 162-game season. This spring the Cardinals used several other players at short as they sought potential fill-ins for DeJong. Besides Edman, who hasn’t started there as a Cardinal in the regular season, there is Edmundo Sosa, who had a strong 2019 year in AAA and could step in. Sosa has a solid glove and a good arm and is developing as a hitter who can do damage, making him a possibility to make an expanded 30-man roster for the first two weeks of the season. Yairo Munoz had played some short this spring but he bolted the club late in the first camp and was released.

Edmundo Sosa >

Paul DeJong


BASEBALL PREVIEW

S20 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S21

JACK FLAHERTY • RHP • 22

ADAM WAINWRIGHT • RHP • 50

MILES MIKOLAS • RHP • 39

KWANG HYUN KIM • LHP • 33

DAKOTA HUDSON • RHP • 43

CARLOS MARTINEZ • RHP • 18

DANIEL PONCE DE LEON • RHP • 62

ANDREW MILLER • LHP • 21

AUSTIN GOMBER • LHP • 36

TYLER WEBB • LHP • 30

JOHN GANT • RHP • 53

PROJECTED 30-MAN CARDINALS ROSTER

RYAN HELSLEY • RHP • 56

he following 30-man roster is based on reporting and observation at the ballpark, but the possibilities of injuries and ongoing COVID-19 testing and recovery makes it an estimate, not a final roster. This is based on the performance and health with 10 days remaining in “Summer Camp.” The Cardinals will also carry a three-man taxi squad on the road, and a third catcher (Andrew Knizner) can be with the team on that taxi squad and at home games.

T JACOB WOODFORD • RHP • 40

KODI WHITLEY • RHP • 90

JUNIOR FERNANDEZ • RHP • 44

JOHAN OVIEDO • RHP • 87

PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT • 1B • 46

KOLTEN WONG • 2B • 16

PHOTOS BY LAURIE SKRIVAN

lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

Players on the injured list: Jordan Hicks, RHP (elbow; opted out of season) John Brebbia, RHP (elbow) Giovanny Gallegos, RHP (undisclosed) Alex Reyes, RHP (undisclosed) Genesis Cabrera, LHP (COVID-19) Ricardo Sanchez, LHP (COVID-19) Elehuris Montero, 3B/1B (COVID-19) Brett Cecil, LHP (hamstring)

YADIER MOLINA • C • 4

MATT WIETERS • C • 32

MATT CARPENTER • 3B • 13

PAUL DEJONG • SS • 11

TOMMY EDMAN • 3B/UT • 19

BRAD MILLER • UT • 15

RANGEL RAVELO • 1B • 47

EDMUNDO SOSA • SS • 63

TYLER O’NEILL • LF • 41

HARRISON BADER • CF • 48

DEXTER FOWLER • RF • 25

LANE THOMAS • OF • 35


BASEBALL PREVIEW

S22 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

CATCHER Molina team’s main man as he plays final year of contract

HEART AND SOUL BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? This will be Yadier Molina’s 16th consecutive season as the Cardinals’ starting catcher. On the tail end of a three-year, $60 million deal, Molina will be playing at age 38. He has said he wants to play one, and possibly two more seasons with the club. The Cardinals probably would prefer that Molina not catch 55 games in the heat of the summer, but do you want to be the one to tell him he’s not playing on a particular day? Whatever expectations the Cardinals have, Molina’s are even higher. Molina often seems to hit with more power in the second half of the season. For instance, even though he played 29 fewer games in the second half last year, Molina had more homers (6 to 4) than he had in the first half and his OPS was .802, compared to .654 in the first half. Some of that jump, though, had to do with his being healthier in August and September. After years of catching runners at higher than a 40 percent clip, Molina has been under 40 percent for the past four seasons although only 30 runners tried to test him last year, with eight throw-outs for a 27 percent rating. Though he turned 38 on July 13, there is no one like him, notably in his handling of a staff, for which there really isn’t a statistic. Manager Mike Shildt last year said, “Processing information and being able to execute it and being able to change as the games goes on ... this guy’s got a mental Rolodex that is second to none.” There is no reason that is likely to change, but Molina may have two backups this year if the Cardinals desire, because they can have 30 players at the start of the season or could take a catcher off the three-man taxi squad available to them. Veteran switch-hitter Matt Wieters, re-signed to a one-year $2 million deal plus incentives, will be in reserve, as probably will be Andrew Knizner, who was impressive when he was up in midseason although he did not hit for a high average.

YADIER MOLINA’S 2019 STATS .270 AVERAGE 57 RBI

58 KS 24 DOUBLES

0 TRIPLES

113 HITS

6 STEALS

23 WALKS 10 HOME RUNS

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY? Molina appears in as good of shape as ever and is hungry for a fifth World Series after falling one step short last season when the Cardinals were swept by Washington in the National League Championship Series. If the Cardinals carry three catchers, Wieters may be employed more often as a lefthanded pinch hitter because the Cardinals have so few of those on their bench. The Cardinals still would have Knizner if they needed to run for Molina late in a game. Knizner, perceived as more of an offensive catcher so far, also has some first base in his background. Still, barring injury, having three catchers doesn’t mean the Cardinals will be catching all of them. There might be only eight to 10 collective starts to be had for Wieters and Knizner. Will this be Molina’s final season here? Molina held open the option of being a free agent if something can’t be worked out contractually, and the landscape may have changed because of the loss of revenue by the Cardinals and all other clubs due to the pandemic. Molina’s 17th game this season will be a momentous one. It will be his 2,000th as a Cardinal. With eight appearances, Molina will pass Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith at 1,991 and then only Hall of Famers Stan Musial (3,026) and Lou Brock (2,289) will be ahead of him.

Yadier Molina

Matt Wieters Rangel Ravelo

DH Several candidates at DH can make attack more productive

EXTRA OFFENSE BY RICK HUMMEL | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? With National League teams not knowing for sure until a few weeks ago that they would need a designated hitter for every game, the chances of any establishing one as a fulltime DH are remote. More often than not, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt will give his regulars a day off from the field in these next two hot months and install one per day as the designated hitter. But for sake of argument, let’s consider that Brad Miller might get as many at-bats as anyone else in the DH role. For one, Miller is a lefthanded hitter who has power. And former American Leaguer Miller has a career OPS of .888 as a DH with nine homers and eight doubles among his 24 hits in 102 career at-bats as a DH. He has a respectable .768 OPS against righthanded pitchers. And, not a strong defender, he won’t be in the field as much as some other players. If the DH isn’t Matt Carpenter or Paul Goldschmidt or Paul DeJong on a day off, that spot might be hitting down in the Cardinals’ lineup, anywhere from No. 6 to the end. Occasional power is expected from those who will occupy that spot, although it doesn’t figure to be one that would have a lot of speed involved. From those not playing much in the field, righthanded-hitting Rangel Ravelo might also get some DH time. While not necessarily a power hitter, Ravelo stood in against some top relievers last season and made hard contact, going a respectable .250 as a pinch hitter. If young outfielder Dylan Carlson makes the club at some point, outfielder Tyler O’Neill becomes a DH candidate. Tyler O’Neill

Poor-hitting pitchers Weighted runs created-plus by pitchers has been in steady decline. The average for position players is 100. A look since 1940. (via Fangraphs)

5 0 -5

-15

-25 1940

2019

Rangel Ravelo

WHAT IS THE LIKELY REALITY? In a 60-game schedule, no Cardinals player is likely to get more than 100 at-bats as a DH but as many as 10 or 12 could get 20 apiece. Whatever happens, we’re not talking about David Ortiz here. Or, in today’s game, Edwin Encarnacion or J.D. Martinez or Nelson Cruz. This is not a spot in which the Cardinals planned to invest much energy or money, but whoever hits there just needs to keep the line moving. Other than an occasional power burst from Adam Wainwright or Miles Mikolas, the designated hitter consortium figures to do better than the Cardinals’ pitchers trying to hit. In theory, if Tommy Edman, who was one of the Cardinals’ most prolific hitters last season, just can’t be kept out of the lineup, you would find him at third base. This could move third baseman Carpenter into DH duties, something he rarely has done in interleague games. Carpenter is seven for 31 with three runs batted in as a designated hitter. But as his career goes on, being a successful DH could prolong it. He is a signed player for next year at $18 million, but if the DH stays for the 2021 season Carpenter would have more value to the Cardinals, if he can recapture his hitting success of a couple of years ago.

Dylan Carlson


BASEBALL PREVIEW

07.19.2020 • SUNDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S23

MEDIA VIEWS

WILL RATINGS SEE BOOST? Cards’ viewership has slumped lately, but that could change in unprecedented situation TV schedule Non-Cardinals MLB games scheduled to be televised in the St. Louis market in the early part of the season (more MLB Network games to be added):

DAN CAESAR St. Louis Post-Dispatch

n March, 2020 was shaping up as a key year for the Cardinals and Fox Sports Midwest, which were about to enter the third season of a 15-year deal that’s worth more than $1 billion and includes the club having a stake in the network. That’s before the coronavirus-caused delay of the season threw everything into flux. Last year, despite the team finishing 20 games over .500 and winning its division, the Cardinals drew their worst TV ratings for their locally-produced telecasts in two decades. And that continued a sharp decline of recent seasons. Nielsen, which measures viewership, reports that 6.6% of the market tuned in to the telecasts on Fox Sports Midwest. The year before the rating was 7.3. In 2015, it was 10.0. So last year the team and FSM lost more than a third of the TV audience it had four seasons earlier. The ratings drop wasn’t limited to the regular season. The Cards’ appearance in the first round of the playoffs drew the lowest rating of their last seven trips to the divisional round. Then they had their worst ratings performance, by far, in the 10 National League Championship Series in which the team has played in this century. There was an extenuating circumstance last year, as the Blues’ improbable run undoubtedly pulled viewers away from baseball, especially from mid-May through mid-June. And the Cards were swept in the NLCS. But overall, the significant decline is a sign of the times in this era in which many people have dropped cable television in favor of lower-cost video-content options. Viewership becomes splintered and has declined for most television outlets. Even with the comparatively low regular-season rating last year, FSM’s Cards telecasts were the top-rated among all U.S.-based MLB teams, continuing a long trend of the Cards being at or near the top. “We still feel very good that our TV and radio ratings are among the highest in baseball,” Cardinals senior vice president Dan Farrell said, pointing out that Cards games usually are the No. 1-rated prime time show on St. Louis television on nights they play. Still, it is a concerning sign when viewership plummets to the extent it has.

I

6:05 p.m.

THURSDAY Yankees at Nationals, ESPN

9:05 p.m

Giants at Dodgers, ESPN

3:10 p.m.

FRIDAY Braves at Mets, ESPN

5:10 p.m.

Tigers at Reds, MLBN

6:10 p.m.

Brewers at Cubs, ESPN

8:10 p.m.

Mariners at Astros, MLBN

9:10 p.m.

Angels at Athletics, ESPN

12:05 p.m.

CHRISTIAN GOODEN, CGOODEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Post-Dispatch Cardinals beat writers Derrick Goold, right, Rick Hummel, center, and other members of the media maintain a physical distance in the Busch Stadium press box as they cover summer camp.

Many factors With the Cardinals’ season now set to start Friday, and limited to 60 games, any ratings comparison to recent years will be skewed. Will fans be so starved for baseball that viewership soars? Or will they have become accustomed to a spring and summer without the Cardinals, therefore just tune in on occasion? More importantly, will they be so angered by weeks of the owners and players haggling over money that they stay away? Adding to the equation is that there will be no fans in the ballpark, at least early on, leading to a studio-like setting. Quirky rules will be implemented, and some key players across MLB have opted out of playing. Will people watch out of curiosity? Or will they consider it a gimmicky season not worth a lot of their time? The track record since sports started returning a few weeks ago has been positive, as viewership for events such as golf, auto racing, the NFL draft and even some documentaries has been strong — some at record levels. “We’re optimistic,” Fox Sports Midwest general manager Jack Donovan said. “There’s pent-up demand for sports. But we can’t be sure, because there’s no precedent for what we’re experiencing.” Farrell, the Cardinals executive, said he wouldn’t be surprised by a 30% ratings increase. And Tom Mee, director of FSM’s Cards telecast, is bullish.

“I don’t care if there are fans in the stands, these ratings are going to blow up,” he has said. “I can’t wait for baseball to get started. People need it.”

The write stuff Of all the people covering sports, the safety protocols put in place because of he coronavirus pandemic might affect baseball beat writers the most. A key element of successfully covering a team on a daily basis, from February until sometimes through October, is developing personal relationships and mutual trust with members of the team. This leads to stories that others do not get, in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of the organization and the personalities of those involved that are key in providing in-depth coverage. These relationships are cultivated behind the scenes, so lack of locker room access and mass interviews conducted electronically can hamper this effort, as necessary as the precautions are. Post-Dispatch Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold is such affected, and is approaching the unprecedented circumstance more as an adventure than a roadblock. “I embrace it as a challenge,” he said. “It’s up to me to adjust.” He said in some ways it’s no different from working around “normal” obstacles, such as an interview request being denied or a phone call not being returned. “I just have to find a way to do the job differently,” he said. “How do I get this

SATURDAY Brewers at Cubs, KTVI (2)

3:10 p.m.

Giants at Dodgers, KTVI (2)

6:15 p.m.

Yankees at Nationals, KTVI (2)

9:10 p.m. 12:05 p.m. 3:10 p.m

Diamondbacks at Padres, FS1 SUNDAY, JULY 26 Yankees at Nationals, TBS Angels at Athletics, MLBN

6:05 p.m.

Braves at Mets, ESPN

9:05 p.m.

Giants at Dodgers, ESPN

THURSDAY, JULY 30 6:15 p.m. Red Sox at Mets or Indians at Twins, KTVI (2) SATURDAY, AUG. 1 6:15 p.m. Red Sox at Yankees or Astros at Angels, KTVI (2) 6:05 p.m.

SUNDAY, AUG. 2 Red Sox at Yankees, ESPN

exclusive story? You put an emphasis on what you observe. . . . It’s just a different way to try to provide the same depth of coverage.” He pointed out that he and his colleagues “have found a way to cover sports without games,” with a variety of analytical and “where are they now” type stories filling the gap before summer camp began. But there remains that limited-access challenge now that baseball is poised to return. “How do you give complete, immersive coverage of a sport from an arm’s distance?” he asked. “That’s the challenge.” Goold, who was on a committee that helped draft those safety rules across MLB, added that the protocols now in place are subject to easing if the pandemic subsides. “I’m really respectful of what everybody is doing,” Goold said. “The responsibility is on us.” Dan Caesar • 314-340-8175 @caesardan on Twitterv dcaesar@post-dispatch.com

WRITERS’ PREDICTIONS DERRICK GOOLD

NL CENTRAL

NL WEST

NL EAST

NL WILD CARDS

NL CHAMPION

AL CENTRAL

AL WEST

AL EAST

AL WILD CARDS

AL CHAMPION

WORLD SERIES CHAMPION

RICK HUMMEL

BEN FREDERICKSON

BENJAMIN HOCHMAN

JEFF GORDON


BASEBALL PREVIEW

S24 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

NATIONAL LEAGUE CAPSULES

CONTENDERS ADD FIREPOWER Braves, Dodgers bolster offenses in pursuit of Series title BY JEFF GORDON | St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Associated Press photos — Teams in projected order of finish

Freddie Freeman

Jack Flaherty

Cody Bellinger

NL EAST

NL CENTRAL

NL WEST

Atlanta Braves

St. Louis Cardinals

Los Angeles Dodgers

2019 record: 97-65 (first)

2019 record: 91-71 (first)

2019 record: 106-56 (first)

Outlook: Getting former Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna on a one-year deal to replace 3B Josh Donaldson’s bat was a sensible move. He adds support for 1B Freddie Freeman (.938 OPS, 121 RBIs), who was symptomatic with COVID-19 and might not be ready for the start of the season. OF Ronald Acuna Jr. (41 HR, 101 RBIs, 37 SB) could take another offensive step, which would help with Nick Markakis opting out. The Braves added RP Will Smith to bolster the bullpen after adding RPs Mark Melancon, Shane Greene and Chris Martin on the fly last season.

Outlook: They need SP Carlos Martinez to settle in behind staff ace Jack Flaherty (2.75 ERA, .097 WHIP). Perhaps SP Miles Mikolas used the shutdown to recover from arm trouble. The Cardinals must find late-inning reliability from RPs Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley. SS Paul DeJong (just .193 with RISP) must became a consistent run producer, and 3B Matt Carpenter must revive his bat. Getting production from INF-OF Tommy Edman and OFs Tyler O’Neill and Lane Thomas would help. OF Dylan Carlson will be on deck.

Outlook: An offense featuring OF Cody Bellinger (1.035 OPS, 115 RBIs), 1B Max Muncy (35 HR, 98 RBIs), SS Corey Seager, 3B Justin Turner and 2B Gavin Lux didn’t really need OF Mookie Betts (.915 OPS for the Red Sox). SP David Price opted out of this season, but the Dodgers still have a strong rotation with Clayton Kershaw (16-5, 3.03 ERA), Julio Urias, Walker Buehler (14-4, 3.36) and Alex Wood. The Dodgers need RP Kenley Jansen (eight blown saves) back at full capacity.

What success looks like: Repeating as Central Division champions is a realistic goal. Since some of their immediate rivals are retooling or totally rebuilding, the Cardinals need to go for it by making roster upgrades as needed.

What success looks like: Their first World Championship since 1988. That is the goal for a franchise that put the all into its “all in” approach during the winter.

Chicago Cubs

San Diego Padres

What success looks like: The Braves have gotten back into the habit of winning division titles, but can they finally make deeper playoff runs?

Washington Nationals 2019 record: 93-69 (second)

2019 record: 84-78 (third)

2019 record: 70-92 (fifth)

Outlook: SP Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 ERA) re-upped to remain atop the starting rotation with Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92) and Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.25). But SP Joe Ross opted to sit out due to the virus, along with 1B Ryan Zimmerman. Replacing 3B Anthony Rendon’s production won’t be easy, with veteran INF Asdrubal Cabrera and INF prospect Carter Kieboom among the internal options. OF Juan Soto (.949 OPS, 110 RBIs) and SS Trea Turner (.850 OPS, 35 SB) could use more help in this offense.

Outlook: Slugging 1B Anthony Rizzo (.924 OPS, 94 RBIs), 3B Kris Bryant (.903 OPS), C Willson Contreras and OF Kyle Schwarber still power the offense, although team president Theo Epstein seems ready to alter his core group. SP Jose Quintana injured his hand in a household mishap, and rotation mates Jon Lester (4.46 ERA), Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish battled various injuries last season. A big rebound from closer Craig Kimbrel (6.43 ERA) would help, too.

Outlook: Budding superstar SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (.969 OPS) and high-paid 3B Manny Machado (32 HR, 85 RBIs) and 1B Eric Hosmer (22 HR, 99 RBIs) provide offensive muscle. Chis Paddack (3.33 ERA, 0.98 WHIP), Joey Lucchesi and Dinelson Lamet could lead a solid starting rotation. Former Cardinals OF Tommy Pham, fellow OF Trent Grisham, INF Jurickson Profar, and SPs Drew Pomeranz and Zach Davies fortified the roster of this ambitious franchise.

What success looks like: Odds are the D.C. won’t enjoy back-to-back World Championship parades, but another postseason trip is a reasonable objective for a team with elite starting pitching.

What success looks like: Contending for postseason play while also retooling is a tough assignment, but that’s what the Cubs face under first-year manager David Ross. Bryant remains a big trade chip.

What success looks like: Catching the Dodgers will be nearly impossible, so contending for a wild-card slot is the best-case scenario for this charging team.

Cincinnati Reds

Arizona Diamondbacks

Philadelphia Phillies 2019 record: 81-81 (fourth)

2019 record: 75-87 (fourth)

2019 record: 85-77 (second)

Outlook: SP Zack Wheeler (11-8, 3.96 ERA with the Mets) will strengthen the starting rotation after Jake Arrieta (8-8, 4.64) and Vince Valasquez (7-8, 4.91) struggled last season. SS Didi Grigorius (16 HR in 82 Yankees games) could become a solid addition with a bounce-back season. The Phillies need more from OF Andrew McCutchen (coming back from injury) and OF Bryce Harper (.882 OPS, 114 RBIs) to rise in this balanced division.

Outlook: INF Mike Moustakas (35 HR, 87 RBIs for Brewers) and OF Nicholas Castellanos (1.002 OPS in 52 Cubs games) are going to love hitting in the Great American Band Box after arriving as free agents. But SPs Trevor Bauer, Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo could head a decent starting rotation. Odds are the Reds will need to score to win — and that means getting more from hitters young (INF-OF Nick Senzel), old (1B Joey Votto) and imported (OF Shogo Akiyami).

Outlook: Newly acquired SP Madison Bumgarner (9-9, 3.90 ERA) should offset the loss of former Cardinal Mike Leake, who is sitting out for fear of contracting coronavirus. The rotation also features Cardinals trade chips Luke Weaver and Zac Gallen. OF Starling Marte (23 HR, 82 RBIs, 25 SB with the Pirates) should boost the offense led by 3B Eduardo Escobar (35 HR, 118 RBIs). If OF Ketel Marte, 1B Christian Walker and former Cardinals C Carson Kelly are for real, the D-Backs could hang in the race.

What success looks like: The Reds could swipe the division crown in a down season for the NL Central. Their management was aggressive in the offseason and should be motivated to keep pushing.

What success looks like: The Diamondbacks could make the Cardinals scouting and player development proud by posting another winning record with players acquired from John Mozeliak and Co.

Milwaukee Brewers

Colorado Rockies

What success looks like: The franchise is getting desperate to return to postseason play for the first time since 2011.

New York Mets 2019 record: 86-76 (third)

2019 record: 89-73 (second)

2019 record: 71-91 (fourth)

Outlook: The Mets went to the recycling bin to add SP Rick Porcello and longtime Cardinals hurler Michael Wacha to a starting rotation led by Jacob deGrom (2.43 ERA, .097 WHIP) and Marcus Stroman. But Noah Syndergaard needed Tommy John surgery. RP Edwin Diaz (5.59 ERA, seven blown saves) is a question mark. 1B Pete Alonso (53 HR, 120 RBIs) emerged as an elite power hitter last season. The Mets need more from pricey 2B Robinson Cano (just 39 RBIs in 390 at-bats).

Outlook: Superstar OF Christian Yelich (1.100 OPS, 30 SB) signed a long-term extension that should keep him in Milwaukee for the rest of his career, but his supporting cast is diminished. The Brewers will need 2B Keston Hiura (.938 OPS) to stay healthy and C Omar Narvaez to replace the departed Yasmani Grandal. Milwaukee’s rotation looks middling after Brandon Woodruff (11-3, 3.62 ERA), and that adds pressure on RP Josh Hader (37 saves) and the rest of the bullpen.

Outlook: Superstar 3B Nolan Arenado (.962 OPS, 118 RBIs) remains in the heart of the batting order, for now, after enduring a long winter of trade speculation. But he won’t be happy once this team plunges from contention. SS Trevor Story (.917 OPS, 23 SB) and OFs Charlie Blackmon (.940 OPS) are big bats, but Ian Desmond is sitting out, not wanting to catch the coronavirus. RPs Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw flopped last season. The rotation lacks depth behind SPs German Marquez and Jon Gray.

What success looks like: Management talked big before last season and the team didn’t measure up. So contention is mandatory.

What success looks like: A return to postseason play seems unlikely, but Brewers manager Craig Counsell has surprised critics before.

What success looks like: Given the soured relationship with Arenado, the team should trade him for a prospect package once it falls out of the playoff race.

Miami Marlins

Pittsburgh Pirates

San Francisco Giants

2019 record: 57-105 (fifth)

2019 record: 69-93 (fifth)

2019 record: 77-85 (third)

Outlook: Adding INF Jonathan Villar (24 HR, 73 RBIs, 40 SB for Orioles), 1B Jesus Aguilar and OF Corey Dickerson (.906 OPS for Pirates and Phillies) makes the offense more respectable. Former Cardinals SP Sandy Alcantara (3.88 ERA, .241 BAA) is realizing his vast potential. If SPs Jordan Yamamoto, Pablo Lopez and Elieser Hernandez can do the same, the Marlins could be less terrible.

Outlook: The Pirates have hit the reset button and started a long-term overhaul with a new baseball operation. Slugging 1B Josh Bell (.936 OPS, 116 RBIs) still anchors the offense, and OF Gregory Polanco (.242 in 153 at bats) could finally realize his potential if he can stay healthy. But the starting rotation will be subpar, especially after losing Chris Archer to season-ending surgery.

What success looks like: Giving a lot of very promising young players some valuable experience while trying not to flop horribly.

What success looks like: Accumulating more prospects and achieving a high draft position are the Year 1 goals for the new regime. It’s never easy to start over, but the lowrevenue Pirates have no choice.

Outlook: The decline of SS Brandon Crawford (.654 OPS) and 1B-OF Brandon Belt (.234 BA) mirror the sad regression of this franchise. C Buster Posey opted out of the season, which doesn’t help. The Giants would love to see SP Johnny Cueto (5.06 ERA in four starts) finally complete his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Then the team could trade him and SP Jeff Samardzija (11-12, 3.52) for prospects as their rebuild continues. What success looks like: Converting veterans into longterm assets should be the top priority, since contending for postseason play is out of the question.


BASEBALL PREVIEW

07.19.2020 • SUNDAY • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH • S25

AMERICAN LEAGUE CAPSULES

RESHUFFLING ACES Changes at top of the rotations highlight division favorites BY JEFF GORDON | St. Louis Post-Dispatch — Associated Press photos — Teams in projected order of finish

Gerrit Cole

Nelson Cruz

Alex Bregman

AL EAST

AL CENTRAL

AL WEST

New York Yankees

Minnesota Twins

Houston Astros

2019 record: 103-59 (first)

2019 record: 101-61 (first)

2019 record: 107-55 (first)

Outlook: Lifelong Yankees fan Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA with the Astros) has arrived with a $342 million contract to boost the depleted starting rotation. But the team will miss SPs Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery) and Domingo German (suspension). Slugging OFs Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton healed up during the break, and SS Gleyber Torres (.871 OPS, 90 RBIs) and 3B Gio Urshela (.889 OPS) can keep the offense humming.

Outlook: Adding 3B Josh Donaldson (37 HR, 94 RBIs with the Braves) to the Bomba Squad featuring INF Miguel Sano (.923 OPS) and OFs Nelson Cruz (1.031 OPS), Eddie Rosario (32 HR, 109 RBIs) and Max Kepler (36 HR, 90 RBIs) seemed like overkill. The Twins smacked an MLB-record 307 homers last year. More pragmatic were rotation upgrades Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Homer Bailey joining Jose Berrios (14-8, 3.88 ERA) and Jake Odorizzi (15-7, 3.51).

Outlook: New manager Dusty Baker takes charge after the sign-stealing scandal. He has an enviable lineup featuring 3B Alex Bregman (1.015 OPS, 112 RBIs), 1B Yuli Gurriel (31 HR, 104 RBIs), 2B Jose Altuve (.903 OPS), SS Carlos Correa and OFs George Springer and Michael Brantley. But their pitching staff is less formidable without Gerrit Cole teaming up with Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.48 ERA), Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers in the rotation.

What success looks like: The Yankees are spending big again, so it’s the World Series or bust for Team Steinbrenner.

What success looks like: The ALCS seems within reach, especially with the Yankees fighting an injury plague and the Astros dealing with the fallout of their sign-stealing scandal.

What success looks like: Winning a World Series without cheating would go a long way toward shutting up the critics. Even though they won’t know what pitch is coming, the Astros have enough offense to earn another parade.

Tampa Bay Rays

Chicago White Sox

Oakland Athletics

2019 record: 96-66 (second)

2019 record: 72-89 (third)

2019 record: 97-65 (second)

Outlook: Former Cardinals OF Jose Martinez should get plenty of DH work. OF Austin Meadows (.922 OPS, 89 RBIs) is a budding star, but can OF Hunter Renfroe or OF/INF Toshitomo Tsutsugo replace OF Tommy Pham’s offense? SPs Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 1.78 ERA in 12 starts) and Blake Snell could head a decent rotation, and RP Nick Anderson (3-0, 2.11 in 23 games) heads a deep bullpen that figures to support the team’s “opener” gimmick.

Outlook: The team added DH Edwin Encarnacion (34 HR, 86 RBIs for the Mariners and Yankees), C Yasmani Grandal and OF Nomar Mazara to bolster the offense, Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez to strengthen the rotation and RP Steve Cishek. Young SP Lucas Giolito (14-9, 3.41 ERA) and 3B Yoan Moncada (.915 OPS) have established themselves as building blocks. OF Luis Robert and INF Nick Madrigal should break out soon.

Outlook: Few teams can rival the left side of the Oakland infield with 3B Matt Chapman (36 HR, 91 RBIs) and SS Marcus Semien (.892 OPS, 92 RBIs). 1B Matt Olson (.896, 91 RBIs) and DH Khris Davis can slug, too. Former Cardinals OF Stephen Piscotty has struggled with injuries, most recently a side muscle strain. The A’s have emerging talents like SPs A.J. Puk, Jesus Luzardo and Chris Bassitt lined up for the rotation behind Mike Fiers.

What success looks like: Another wild-card berth appears within reach for this scrappy low-revenue franchise.

What success looks like: Contention! It’s been a while for the White Sox, but they imported significant veteran talent to bolster a good young roster.

What success looks like: Winning the division would be a heavy lift, but a wild-card playoff berth is possible if the starting pitching pans out.

Boston Red Sox

Cleveland Indians

Los Angeles Angels

2019 record: 84-78 (third)

2019 record: 93-69 (second)

2019 record: 72-90 (fourth)

Outlook: SPs David Price and Rick Porcello are gone, SP Chris Sale underwent Tommy John surgery, and the Red Sox have rotation issues beyond 19-game winner Eduardo Rodriguez. OF Mookie Betts is gone, but Boston’s offense is still formidable with the likes of 3B Rafael Devers (.916 OPS, 116 RBIs), OF/DH J.D. Martinez (.939 OPS, 105 RBIs) and SS Xander Bogaerts (.939 OPS, 117 RBIs) leading the attack.

Outlook: The Indians will need more excellent work from SPs Mike Clevinger (13-4, 2.71 ERA) and Shane Bieber (15-8, 3.28) after trading SP Corey Kluber to Texas in a contract dump. A bounce-back season from SP Carlos Carrasco would help, too. Former Cardinals OF prospect Oscar Mercado added depth to an offense led by SS Francisco Lindor (32 HR, 74 RBIs, 22 SB), 1B Carlos Santana (.911 OPS) and 3B Jose Ramirez (23 HR, 83 RBIs, 24 SB).

Outlook: With OF Mike Trout (1.083 OPS) locked in forever, the Angels gave him long-term support by signing 3B Anthony Rendon (1.010 OPS, 126 RBIs for Nationals). OF Justin Upton (.225 BA) should produce more coming back from an injury-marred season, but does DH/1B Albert Pujols have anything left? DH/OF/SP Shohei Ohtani is back following surgical repairs, and the addition of SPs Julio Tehran and Dylan Bundy will strengthen the rotation.

What success looks like: Trading superstar Lindor for an exceptional prospect package seems like the best outcome for a franchise fixated on fiscal responsibility.

What success looks like: A return to relevance is step one for new manager Joe Maddon, who returned home to the Angels to work his motivational magic.

Kansas City Royals

Texas Rangers

What success looks like: Respectability while retooling. That doesn’t excite the Boston fan base, but that’s the reality after the sign-stealing scandal hit and the team sent Betts and Price to the Dodgers to resolve their luxury tax dilemma.

Toronto Blue Jays 2019 record: 67-95 (fourth)

2019 record: 59-103 (fourth)

2019 record: 78-84 (third)

Outlook: The rotation will have a whole new look with SPs Chase Anderson (8-4, 4.21 ERA with the Brewers), Hyun-Jim Ryu (14-5, 2.32 with the Dodgers), Tanner Roark and Shun Yamaguchi. Young 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and SS Bo Bichette lead an offense that will pop some homers with 3B Travis Shaw, OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.869 OPS) and former Cardinals OF Randal Grichuk (30 HR, 80 RBIs) swinging away.

Outlook: DH Jorge Soler (48 HR, 117 RBIs) finally arrived as a reliable power source last season. OF Adalberto Mondesi (43 SB) and INF-OF Whit Merrifield (.348 OBP, 20 SB) should push the pace on the base paths, and the return of C Salvador Perez will add offensive depth. SP Brad Keller (7-14, 4.19 ERA) could become a franchise cornerstone. Former Cardinals RP Trevor Rosenthal could revive his career after finally regaining command after his surgical repairs.

Outlook: Texas hitters may not like their new ballpark as much as the old place. 2B Rougned Odor (30 HR, 93 RBIs), SS Elvis Andrus (31 SB), 3B-1B Todd Frazier and OFs Joey Gallo (.986 OPS in 70 games), Shin-Soo Choo and Danny Santana will produce runs. The starting rotation gets a new look with the addition of Kyle Gibson, Corey Kluber and Jordan Lyles to join Mike Minor (14-10, 3.59 ERA) and former Cardinal Lance Lynn (16-11, 3.67).

What success looks like: With the rebuild continuing, the Blue Jays want to swap more veterans (closer Ken Giles?) for long-term assets while also finishing closer to .500.

Baltimore Orioles

What success looks like: Extended spring training will run through September as new manager Mike Matheny tries to teach The Cardinal Way to the rebuilding Royals.

Detroit Tigers

What success looks like: Getting to the high side of .500 after three straight losing seasons would be real progress.

Seattle Mariners

2019 record: 54-108 (fifth)

2019 record: 47-115 (fifth)

2019 record: 68-94 (fifth)

Outlook: 1B Chris Davis (.179 BA, .601 OPS last season) is owed more than $21 million per season through 2020. He looms as a depressing reminder of management decisions gone bad. Key OF Trey Mancini (.899 OPS, 97 RBIs) is recovering from cancer surgery, so 2B Hanser Alberto (.305 BA) won’t have much help as he tries to keep things respectable.

Outlook: The suffering will continue as aging DH/1B Miguel Cabrera continues playing out his monstrous contract and the Tigers try to develop a whole new roster. OF Cameron Maybin, 1B C.J. Cron (25 HR, 78 RBIs for the Twins), 2B Jonathan Schoop and SPs Ivan Nova (11-12, 4.74 ERA for the White Sox) and Matthew Boyd (9-12, 4.56) are among the serviceable veterans holding spots for the next generation.

What success looks like: Playing some kids, winning some games and chilling some of that chatter about moving the team to Portland.

What success looks like: Rinsing off the stink of that 115-loss season while giving fans in the Motor City some reason to buy 2021 tickets.

Outlook: Seattle’s pitching appears to be better than the hitting with former Cardinal Marco Gonzales (16-14, 3.99 ERA) atop a rotation that also features Taijuan Walker, Justus Sheffield and Yusei Kikuchi. OF Mallex Smith (46 SB) and INF-OF Dee Gordon (22 SB) will apply pressure on defenses, but the offense lacks pop beyond 3B Kyle Seager. Perhaps 1B Evan White and OF Kyle Lewis can graduate into productive roles. What success looks like: Moving past the tank-andrebuild plan and actually competing in the division again.


S26 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • SUNDAY • 07.19.2020

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3 lbs. Boneless Chuck Roast 2-8 oz. Boneless Rib Eye Steaks 3 lbs. Boneless Sirloin Tip Roast 7 lbs. (Approx. 2) Cut Up Chicken 3 lbs. Center Cut Pork Steaks 1 lb. Sliced Country Slab Bacon 3 lbs. Sirloin Pork Chops 2 lbs. Center Cut Round Steak 2-8 oz. Boneless New York Strip Steaks 5 lbs. (1 lb. Pkgs.) Lean Ground Chuck 2-8 oz. Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignons 2 lbs. (Approx. 4) Pork Cutlets

2-8 oz. Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignons 2-8 oz. New York Strip Steaks 2-12 oz. Center Cut Pork Steaks 2-6 oz. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts 2-8 oz. Bacon Wrapped Pork Fillets 2-10 oz.Top Sirloin Steaks

2½ lbs. Country Sryle Pork Ribs 2 lbs. (Approx. 4) Pork Cutlets 2½ lbs. (Approx. 5) Sirloin Pork Chops 2 lbs. (1 lb. Pkgs.) Lean Ground Chuck 2 lbs. (1 lb. Pkgs.) Lean Beef Stew Meat 3 lbs. Boneless Chuck Roast 1 lb. Sliced Country Slab Bacon 3½ lbs. Cut Up Chicken (8 pc.) 3 lbs. Select Arm Roast 3 lbs. (Approx. 4) Center Cut Pork Steaks 1 lb. Pkg.Wieners 3 lbs. Bone-In Chicken Breasts

JUMBO FAMILY JOHN’S CAMPING BALANCED DIET BIG MIKE’S PACK............. $80 PACK......... $145 SPECIAL..... $150 PACK ......... $280 3 lbs. Slab Bacon 3 lbs. Homemade Bulk Pork Sausage 3 lbs. Center Cut Pork Steaks 1½ lbs. Col. Stan’s Chicken Wings 1½ lb. Kenrick’s Jalapeno Cheddar Brats 1 lbs. Sliced Kenrick’s Ham 1 lb. Sliced Honeysuckle Turkey Breast 1 lbs. Sliced American Cheese 4 Pcs. Loaded Burgers (Cheddar, Onions, & Green Pepper)

3 lbs. Boneless Chuck Roast

ALL STEAK PACK......... $305

Kenrick’s Original BRATS - BURGERS - DOGS 6 PC. ORIGINAL BRATWURST Ozark Grillers 6 PC. BEER BRATWURST

4 lbs. T-Bone Steaks

5 lbs. Center Cut Pork Steaks 5 lbs. Country Style Ribs 2 lbs. BBQ Pork Steak Burgers 2 lbs. Jalapeno & Cheddar Burgers 2 lbs. Bacon & Cheddar Burgers 1 Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Hot Pepper Cheese 3 lbs. Top Sirloin Steaks 4 lbs. Rib Tips 2 lbs. Roasted Pepper & Onion Chicken Burgers

2lbs. (1 lb. Units) Lean Beef Stew Meat 5 lbs. (1 lb. Units) Lean Ground Chuck 3½ lbs. Cut Up Chicken (8 pc.) 2 lbs. (Approx. 4) Pork Cutlets 2 lbs. (Approx. 5) Center Cut Pork Chops 2 lbs. (Approx. 4) Cube Steaks 3 lbs. (Approx. 4) Center Cut Pork Steaks 4-8 oz.Avg. New York Strip Steaks 2 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

6 PC. ALL BEEF GRILLING BURGERS 6 PC. GRILLING PORK STEAK BURGERS 8 PC. NEW YORK STYLE HOTDOGS

4 lbs. Porterhouse Steaks 4 lbs. Top Sirloin Steaks 4 - 8 oz. New York Strip Steaks 4 - 8 oz. Boneless Rib Eye Steaks 4 - 8 oz. Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignons 2 lbs. Center Cut Round Steaks 5 lbs. Ground Steak 3 lbs. Cube Steak

4 lbs. Pork Cutlets 4 lbs. Stew Meat 8 - 1 lb. Packages Ground Chuck 4 lbs. Center Cut Rib Chops 4 lbs. Lean Cube Steak 2 lbs. Round Steak 3 lbs. Sirloin Steaks 7 lbs. Cut Up Chickens (16 pcs.) 4 lbs. Slab Bacon 4 lbs. Bulk Pork Sausage 3 lbs. Boneless Chuck Roast 3 lbs. Boneless Pork Loin Roast 4 lbs. Center Cut Pork Steaks 3 lbs. Fresh Meatloaf Mix

$

99

12

LB. (10 TO A PKG.) Hours: M - F Sat. Sun. 11-6 10:30-5 Closed

ALL FOR

40

$

00

DELICIOUS DAILY SPECIALS

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