The St. Louis Cardinals have the best record in the NL
When the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Nolan Arenado, it was their message to the rest of the league that they wanted to contend for a World Series — not just this season, but in every season that Arenado is under contract.
At first, they got off to a slow start. Arenado struggled to get settled into St. Louis. Goldschmidt underwhelmed at the plate. The starting rotation dealt with inconsistencies while the outfielders, besides Dylan Carlson, did not play anything like the group the front office hoped for entering the regular season. And at one point, they sat at the bottom of the National League Central, even behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.
At long last, the Cardinals have arrived.
They entered Monday at 21-14, which is the best record in the NL. Getting to this point meant having their key players step up, perhaps none more so than Arenado, Adam Wainwright and even Harrison Bader.
In a series against the Colorado Rockies, something that has been circled on Arenado’s calendar since he was traded to the Cardinals, he went 3-for-8 with two extra-base hits, improving his slash line to .282/.343/.496. Wainwright pitched another gem, once again entering the ninth inning before handing the ball to the bullpen to seal a 2-0 win on Sunday. Bader has hit three home runs since coming off the injured list and has managed to keep the strikeouts down (four in 30 at-bats), a significant improvement from where he has been in years past.
The Arenado trade was supposed to draw the Cardinals closer to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. At least early on, however, neither team appears to be in the same class as the Cardinals — and that’s without Arenado hitting his full stride.
Which begs the question: just how good will these Cardinals be?