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Hummel: Is Jose Quintana the frontrunner to start Game 1 of the playoffs?

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Check out the highlights from Rick Hummel’s Cardinals chat with readers. The full transcript of the chat can be found here. 

Q: Commish, the Cards have been flat for most of Sept. What is your bigger concern going into Oct - that the two super stars aren’t hitting or that the rotation lacks a strong one/two punch that the elite teams have?

A: My bigger concern is the 1-2 starting punch at the top. Goldschmidt and Arenado will be better. They have 10 days to get straightened out. But there isn't much way the Cardinals can fix their starting pitching unless Flaherty has another strong game or two.

Q: Is Jose Quintana suddenly the front runner to be the Cardinals post season opener?

A: I still think Miles Mikolas is the top pick to open the postseason for the Cardinals. He has been their best pitcher most of the season. But Jose Quintana has inserted himself into the mix, certainly.                               

Q: With Tommy Edman and Brendan Donovan most likely both being on the post season roster is there a really a need for Paul DeJong? I know Paul is only a "defensive replacement" but the other two are also good defensively.

A: DeJong is a much stronger infield defender than Donovan. If you're ahead late, you want DeJong in the game. That doesn't mean DeJong has to start any of the games, though. Most of their prospective opponents are heavily right-handed-pitching dominant teams, so DeJong probably won't be starting.

Q: Thinking ahead here. Which is the better playoff matchup for our Redbirds- Braves or Mets? Thanks.

A: I would say Braves. Any time you can avoid not only Scherzer and deGrom but Diaz, the Mets' great closer, is a good thing.

Q: The Guardians won their Division without a lot of home runs. What is your impression on how this may impact the rest of baseball especially given the rule changes that are coming next year?

A: What Cleveland has done with a low payroll and with little fanfare is one of the great baseball stories of the season. Terry Francona has shown himself to be a winner before but this might be his best managing job. The Guardians' style might be suited even better to the new rules.

 

Q: Commish, Pujols hitting his 700th was very exciting and epic. I could make the argument that, in reality, he ranks ahead of steroid Bonds and Ruth in the HR category, as the latter did not face the same quality of pitching. Having said that, I think that if he passes Ruth to be second on the all-time RBI list that would be more impressive than 700 HR’s. Do you agree or disagree?

A: Pujols is so high in so many categories, the mind boggles. But, to be second in RBIs would have some weight to it.

Q: How long does it take to recover from a "dead arm?" If Waino skips a start would he be ready for the playoffs, or does it take longer to recover from it? How does his dead arm change the pitching lineup for the playoffs?

A: Unless there is some significant rebound this weekend, I don't think Wainwright is part of the three-man rotation for the wild-card round. "Dead arm" or not.

Q: I know an outfield of Nootbaar, Yepez and Burleson does not scream defensive juggernaut but is that the best hitting OF?

A: O'Neill would figure in my best "hitting" outfield. And what you propose would not, in any way, be a good defensive outfield other than Nootbaar. Yepez and Burleson scream "DH."

 

Q: While the Cardinals are still playing for the second seed, it appears that they will in all likelihood be the third seed. The primary question is who will start the wild card games. Will the starter for this Sunday's game most likely be the starter for the first game of the wild card series or do you think Oli will try to give all of his starters some additional rest before the series?

A: The Cardinals officially are out of the running for the second seed. I expect Wainwright to start this Sunday's game. I do not think that necessarily sets him up to start in the playoffs. A large part of this depends on whom the Cardinals are playing in the postseason. But you can count on Mikolas pitching one of the first two games.

 

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