One month ago, the St. Louis Cardinals looked baked. Now, they’re in the thick of the National League playoff race.
Although their record hasn’t spiked, so to speak, the Cardinals are now 67-63, which is good for third place in the National League Central. It also has them just two and a half games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second NL Wild Card spot.
There’s still time for the Cardinals to make their third consecutive playoff appearance, and they have the pieces to make a run. Here are three reasons why they have a genuine chance of finishing off a postseason run.
St. Louis Cardinals have a pedigree offense
Statistically speaking, manager Mike Shildt’s offense has been underwhelming this season — again. That said, they have been plausible of late. The Cardinals entered Wednesday fifth in MLB in batting average (.265), seventh in OPS (.778), sixth in hits (235) and tied for 11th in runs (120) over the last month.
That sounds unimpressive but considering this is a team that’s not in the top half of MLB in the aforementioned categories in 2021 as a whole, the Cardinals’ offense is showing signs of life. There is proven talent and sleeping giants across the board.
Nolan Arenado is a slugging machine. Paul Goldschmidt is one of, if not the best first baseman of the last decade. Tommy Edman puts the ball in play at a high level. Paul DeJong has pop.
Yadier Molina is a clutch hitter and premier defensive backstop. Matt Carpenter is a clutch hitter, too. Tyler O’Neill is having a career year at the plate, highlighted by 21 home runs and an .848 OPS.
This unit has a combination of plate discipline, pure contact hitting, power and defensive knack in its arsenal. They’re more than capable of being a lethal unit for a mere month and doing damage in a one-game playoff.