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Cardinals open series against Brewers

Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt barehands a Christian Yelich grounder and throws out the reigning MVP in the 13-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com.

Five topics from columnist Ben Frederickson that St. Louis sports fans should be discussing

1. Did Goldschmidt get robbed in Gold Glove race?

I try to refrain from getting too fired up about Gold Glove Awards, but something is off to me. A mild protest of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo beating out Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt for the National League honor seems justified. Right?

Only one of the two (Goldschmidt) anchored first base for the team that went from committing the most errors in the game before the first baseman arrived, to committing the fewest errors in the game after he arrived.

Three-time Gold Glove winner Goldschmidt beat out three-time Gold Glove winner Rizzo in Defensive Runs Saved, too. He was four runs above average in calculations from both Fielding Bible and FanGraphs. Rizzo was a plus-three.

And Goldschmidt bested Rizzo in some important other categories. Here's where the two ranked among NL first basemen:

Innings

2. Goldschmidt (1369.2)

6. Rizzo (1,226.2)

(That breaks down to 15.9 more games for Goldschmidt. Keep that in mind when considering both had five errors this season. Goldschmidt had fewer per inning played.)

Total chances

1. Goldschmidt (1,372)

4. Rizzo (1,268)

Double plays

1. Goldschmidt (145)

3. Anthony Rizzo (120)

Fielding Percentage

T-1. Goldschmidt (.996)

T-1. Rizzo (.996)

Range Factor

2. Rizzo (8.65)

3. Goldschmidt (8.60)

Putouts

2. Goldschmidt (1,256)

4. Rizzo (1,140)

Let's be clear. Both Goldschmidt and Rizzo are ace defenders. Rizzo’s aggressive charging and fearless throws allowed former Cubs manager Joe Maddon to design defensive approaches around the first baseman. But Goldschmidt’s addition to the Cardinals completely overhauled an entire defense. I think the voters get an error for this one.

2. Simba gets another shot

Former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons is once again one of the Hall of Fame candidates to be considered by the Modern Era Committee in December. The eight-time All-Star missed a Cooperstown enshrinement by a single vote last season. He is one of seven returning candidates for consideration. The three newcomers are Dwight Evans, Thurman Munson and Lou Whitaker. Results will be announced Dec. 8.

Yes, Simmons should get in. Yes, he should have been in before now. There are 18 catchers in the Hall of Fame. Below is a list of the top-15 career Wins Above Replacement totals from that group of 18.  See for yourself where Simmons ranks.

1. Johnny Bench: 75.2 WAR

2. Gary Carter: 70.1 WAR

3. Ivan Rodriguez: 68.7

4. Carlton Fisk: 68.5 WAR

5. Gabby Hartnett: 60.1 WAR

6. Yogi Berra 59.8 WAR

7. Mike Piazza 59.6 WAR

8. Bill Dickey 58.4 WAR

Ted Simmons 50.3 WAR

9. Mickey Cochrane 48.5 WAR

10. Buck Ewing 48 WAR

11. Ernie Lombardi 46.8 WAR

12. Roger Bresnahan 42.5 WAR

13. Roy Campanella 37 WAR

14. Rick Ferrell 33.7 WAR

15. Ray Schalk 33.2 WAR

This shouldn't be so hard. It's time to make it right.

3. Why this November probably won’t be as kind to Mizzou football

Barry Odom is back in a familiar position. He needs a strong November to quiet his critics.

The good news? This is Odom’s month. The fourth-year coach is 10-2 in November and 8-0 over the past two Novembers.

The bad news? The narrative will be tested now.

After failing to capitalize on a dream schedule and losing three games to double-digit underdogs, the Tigers now face No. 6 Georgia on the road and No. 10 Florida at home. Then comes a visit from a Tennessee team that has won three of its last four games, with the only loss in that span coming against powerhouse Alabama. Mizzou's regular-season finale against Arkansas, now 2-7, will be a nice reprieve, but it’s on the road, where the Tigers are 0-3 this season. See what I mean?

If Odom can pull off another November surge this season, it will be much more impressive than his last two. College football guru Phil Steele ranked the Tigers’ 2019 schedule as the third-easiest in the SEC entering the season. ESPN’s Football Power Index believes the Tigers’ remaining schedule, though, is the fourth-hardest in the conference.

That’s the problem with giving your losses away to teams you should beat. You get a lot less wiggle room against the ones you hope to upset.

4. A Musial Moment

The Musial Awards, one of my favorite events on the St. Louis sports calendar, is fast approaching. It will be a much-needed reminder to look for (and celebrate) acts of good sportsmanship that don’t get nearly enough attention these days. Mizzou women's basketball great Joni Davis should be considered for a Musial Award. Christina Long's feature on Davis' decision to un-retire her number for incoming freshman Aijha Blackwell was a refreshing reintroduction to what is good in sports.

5. Former Cardinals popping up on benches

A few weeks ago, there was one former Cardinals player managing in the majors: David Bell in Cincinnati. Now? There are four. Joining Bell for 2020 are Carlos Beltran (Mets), Joe Girardi (Phillies) and, of course, former Cardinals catcher and manager Mike Matheny (Royals). One wonders if current Cards coach and former player Stubby Clapp will get his shot soon.

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