Check out the highlights from Rick Hummel’s Cardinals chat with readers.
Q: Yesterday's lopsided win moved the Cards to second in the NL in run differential behind LA. Does the team have the most types of these wins and why do you think it's happening? Where realistically do you see them ranked?
A: I don't have the time to examine everybody's schedules but the numbers are what they are, and you know what you've seen. The Cardinals clearly are capable of high-scoring games. And they've had too many low-run games, too. But they do have some new offensive blood now in the players from Memphis and perhaps the tendencies will change.
Q: With Yadi Molina retiring, how important do you suppose is it this season that Andrew Knizner show more than a few glimpses of his upside in talent?
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A: Knizner has the chance to gain the upper hand on this job for next year, if he performs well, because Ivan Herrera, the prized catcher in the system, will be ready.
(Ivan Herrera was called up Monday with Yadier Molina going on the Bereavement List)
Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, how important do you suppose it is for the Cardinals to take 3 of 4 games this upcoming weekend series versus the Brewers?
A: It's about a 4. It's way too early in the season to tie your hopes to one series. What if the Cardinals take three of four from Milwaukee and only one or two in the five games with Toronto and San Diego?
Q: It would seem Paul Dejong is the odd man out. How do you see the Cardinals handling this situation with little trade value?
A: For DeJong to be a trade candidate — he is on a fairly substantial contract — he would have to do better at Memphis than he's doing. DeJong's future depends on Nolan Gorman. If Gorman proves that he is ready, DeJong likely doesn't figure into the club's plans unless the Cardinals want him as an expensive utility infielder.
Q: How good is VerHagen as a starter? What is the chance he gets a spot start or another shot at the 5th starter? Assuming he will battle against young folks like Woodford and Liberatore for it.
Verhagen might get that shot, as he had in spring training for a while when he is built up more after missing a couple of weeks with injury and COVID.
Q: I'm curious about activity in the bullpen. I often see a reliever start warming up and a few minutes later another reliever takes his place, and then a third reliever joins in. Is this because of preferred matchups or do they sometimes sit a reliever down because he doesn't look sharp?
A: Most of the time it is because certain relievers are programmed for later innings and there are others who are up early if there are any problems. They then might sit down if the starters get past the trouble.
Q: It seems Yepez, Donovan and Gorman are lighting a fire to the Cardinals hitting attack. Can we judge too much at this point when the opponents do not have much of a 'book' on them?
A: With the video and data available, it won't take long for teams to have a game plan for the young players you cited. How they adapt to the opposition's changes will be the key to how successful they might be. But make no mistake. Jeff Albert is their hitting coach, too, just as he has been for Carpenter and DeJong.