The St. Louis Cardinals have been near the top half of the National League standings for the bulk of the year and there’s reason to believe they’ll make a push for the top spot. With the 11th best odds to win the World Series at +3000 on FanDuel, it’s a good time to bet on the Cardinals.
How did the Cardinals get to this point?
The biggest revelation for the Cardinals this season has undoubtedly been first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt started off the season batting .269 in his first 18 games, with third baseman Nolan Areando being the main catalyst on offense, batting .382. However, 39 games into the season the two had a “Freaky Friday” moment where Arenado’s batting average dipped below .270 and Goldschmidt’s rose above .350.
Goldschmidt is currently the betting favorite at +280 to win the NL MVP and has helped the Cardinals take the top seed in the NL Central.
Rookie Nolan Gorman even helped inject a jolt of energy into the team. In his first 14 games in the big leagues, Gorman was hitting over .300 but has since cooled back down to .273. With the Cardinals’ struggles at shortstop forcing second baseman Tommy Edman into the position, Gorman has filled in at second and has had some issues defensively, but ultimately he’s made up for it at the plate.
Why the odds could change
Even though the Cardinals are in first place in the NL Central they still have some holes to patch up. Starting pitcher Jack Flaherty is set to return tomorrow, which could help with some of the Cardinals’ rotation issues, but their pitching staff as a whole has the 15th worst ERA in the MLB at 3.85.
With the trade deadline just beyond the horizon, there are a couple of names out there that could improve their staff. Two names that come to mind are Oakland Athletic Frankie Montas and Arizona Diamondback Madison Bumgarner.
Currently, Montas has a 3.40 ERA in 76.2 innings pitched and has only allowed three or more earned runs in four of the 13 games he’s started.
Bumgarner has looked a bit like his younger self this season, posting a 3.50 ERA in 64.2 innings pitched, his best mark since 2018. Like Montas, Bumgarner has allowed three or more runs in only four of the 13 games he’s appeared in this season.
Neither name jumps off the page like they used to, but the Cardinals need pitching that they can rely on in the postseason and Bumgarner may be one of those guys. In 36 innings pitched in the World Series, Bumganer has a .25 ERA, the best of all-time. Clearly, he’s getting older, but when the postseason starts, Bumgarner has been one of the best pitchers there’s ever been.
Outlook for the rest of the season
As it stands now, the Cardinals have the easiest schedule remaining in the MLB, which gives them a real chance to move up in the NL standings. If they can add some more pitching and with some of their hitters getting back on track, they have a good shot at taking the No.1 seed in the NL.
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