Happy Friday!

A lot of Cardinal-related material here; during the insanely-timed lockout led by the worst MLB commissioner in modern times, I’m just trying to do my share in the mission to keep baseball alive in St. Louis…

1) When we  express our disappointment with the Cardinals offense, the tendency is to point fingers in a free-for-all blame game. The No. 1 villain — and object of obsession — is hitting coach Jeff Albert.

But the more I think about this, and the more I research the stats, I think the No. 1 problem for the offense is Busch Stadium.

— From 2018 through 2021, the Cardinals were 28th in the majors in home slugging (.390) and 14th in road slugging (.424).

— They were 27th in home OPS (.710) and 11th in road OPS (.743.)

— They were 24th in home runs at home, and 8th in homers on the road.

— And as I’ve written many times, Busch especially impacts righthanded hitters. From 2018 through 2021, their RH batters 25th in home slugging (.399) and 10th in road slugging (.433.)

— And their RH batters ranked 16th in home runs at home (212) – and second in road homers (287) since the start of 2018.

— How about doubles? The St. Louis RH batters were 15th in home doubles, and fifth in road doubles over the past four seasons.

Isn’t it interesting?

Albert is a terrible batting coach at home …

And Albert is a terrific hitting coach on the road.

(Pardon my sarcasm.)

On the other side of the ballpark effects, Cardinal pitchers love working at Busch Stadium. The starters thrive when home on the range. Over the past four seasons STL starting pitchers have a 3.39 ERA at home (3rd in MLB) and a 4.09 ERA on the road (12th.)

2) Top pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore goes into 2022 as one of the most intriguing and important talents in the St. Louis organization – majors or minors.

The promising lefthander is intriguing because of the way he improved as an inexperienced 21-year-old after being aggressively placed at Triple A by the Cardinals in 2021. In his final 10 starts for Memphis, Liberatore pitched to a 2.67 ERA with a 25% strikeout rate in 57.1 innings. He kept his walk rate down, gave up five homers, and allowed a .379 slugging percentage and .679 OPS.

This represented substantial growth from Liberatore’s first 12 games at Memphis (67.1 innings) when he got clobbered for a 5.21 ERA with 14 homers, a .474 slug, and a .790 OPS.

3) And Liberatore is important because the Cardinals will likely turn to him to contribute at the MLB level in ‘22. The timetable is uncertain – as his potential role. But barring injury or a major setback, Liberatore’s first MLB opportunity is coming soon. And if Liberatore displays his abundant talent and pitches effectively, it will lower the whining over the Randy Arozarena trade that brought “Libby” to St. Louis.

4) In a recent NHL power rankings piece at, our friend Greg Wyshynski added a bonus opinion – “every team as a Disney World attraction.”  Puck Daddy characterized the Blues as the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade at Disney. Why? “The ideal spot for the NHL’s sixth-best offensive team this season (3.44 goals per game) as well as Ryan O’Reilly’s beard,” Wyshinski wrote. Since the rankings went online the Blues have moved up to 5th in the league in scoring at 3.50 goals per game.

5) I want to elaborate on why I think it would make sense to move Tommy Edman out of the leadoff spot. First of all, Edman’s career onbase percentage when batting first is .313. Among leadoff hitters that have at least 500 plate appearances in the top spot since 2018, Edman’s .313 OBP ranks 38th among 42. And Edman’s .695 OPS is also 38th among the 42. The other thing: Edman performs better offensively when placed elsewhere in the lineup. In 406 combined career plate appearances batting 2nd, 7th, 8th or 9th Edman has a .291 average, .340 OBP, .477 slugging percentage and .817 OPS.

6) Only three weeks into his job as coach of St. Louis City SC, Bradley Carnell is off to a strong start. Carnell is teaming with City sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel in the vital project of linking with St. Louis youth soccer – and by extension the vast STL soccer community at large. The St. Louis City SC youth soccer academy is a top priority for Pfannenstiel and Carnell.

“One of our big goals was that we’d have one of the best development systems in North America,” Pfannenstiel told St. Louis Public Radio. “So for us to really look after the academy was always a good opportunity to get youngsters through the system — and be as early as 2023 to be able to play MLS football.”

7) In a recent piece I forgot to mention Carnell’s association with mentor Ralf Rangnick, now the interim coach of prestigious Manchester United. The 44-year-old Carnell, a South African, played for Rangnick in the Bundesliga. Rangnick later recruited Carnell to coach for the global Red Bull football organization – which led to Carnell’s association with the MLS New York Red Bulls. The British soccer press reported that Carnell was likely headed to Manchester United to serve as Rangnick’s assistant, which made sense. But Carnell, wanting to create something from the roots up, didn’t want to pass on the MLS job in St. Louis.

Carnell’s association with Rangnick reflects well on the young coach. “It stems from 2001 when Ralf Rangnick was my coach at VfB Stuttgart, and I had one of my best playing stints under him,” Carnell said. “It was a good time for him as a coach and me as a player. We made it to the UEFA Cup final and we maintained a link.”

8) A related note because I follow Manchester United: Rangnick certainly caught everyone’s attention by benching the aging superstar Cristiano Ronaldo during Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Brentford. Ronaldo was furious, and this of course set off a media-fueled controversy. Rangnick had considered substituting for Ronaldo when Manchester United had a 2-0 lead over Aston Villa. Rangnick stayed with Ronaldo and Aston Villa rallied for a 2-2 draw.

“For me it was clear after the experience at Villa Park that this time we have to do things better,” Rangnick said. “We did it better and the only question was who do we take off? Of course, Cristiano is a prolific goalscorer and as a player will always want to play and score goals. He was also asking “Why me? Why not take off one of the younger players?” The answer to that came five minutes later when one of the younger players scored the third goal … I told him the same as what I just said in our press conference (after the game. The job of a football manager is to help teams win games.”

9) This note from The Hockey News: “If Vladimir Tarasenko, Pavel Buchnevich and Jordan Kyrou can maintain their point-per-game pace until the end of the season, it would be the first time the Blues have multiple players do so since Pavol Demitra and Pierre Turgeon did it in back-to-back seasons in 1999-00 and 2000-01.”

10) According to Dobber Sports, the Blues have two of the best salary-cap bargains in the NHL among forwards: Robert Thomas is 12th, and Ivan Barbashev is 57th … the Ottawa Senators have been outscored 41-29 this season when former Blues winger Zach Sanford is on the ice. Combining his final season in St. Louis with his first campaign with Ottawa, Sanford has 25 points in 1,209 minutes and is a minus 25 … former Blues prospect Tage Thompson is finally providing production for Buffalo. The tall winger – sent to the Sabres in the steal of a trade that brought Ryan O’Reilly to STL – has 12 goals and 13 assists in 37 games. This is his fourth season in Buffalo… our belated best wishes for a full comeback to former Blue Sammy Blais, felled by a torn ACL after playing in only 14 games for the NY Rangers after being traded in the deal that made Pavel Buchnevich a Blue. Blais made a positive impression in New York before suffering his unfortunate injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the season … when Justin Faulk and Torey Krug have worked as a defensive pairing at five-on-five this season the Blues have allowed only nine goals in 334 minutes and outscored opponents 24-9.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a swell weekend…


Bernie invites you to listen to his opinionated sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the “Bernie Show” podcast at — the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.

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