St. Louis Cardinals: Nolan Arenado is hitting stride at the plate
By Matt Graves
After a streaky start to his St. Louis Cardinals career, Nolan Arenado has gotten hot again and is hitting his stride as summer ramps up.
The month of June has not gone the way that the St. Louis Cardinals had hoped. Outside of winning the first two against the Arizona Diamondbacks they have gone 7-17 against everyone else. They have seen their division lead turn into an 8.0 game deficit, and the team has been visually playing like they’re pissed off.
When Jack Flaherty went down with injury earlier this season, it was evident that the team needed their biggest bats, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado to step up and carry the load at the plate. While that hasn’t happened fully, it’s been Arenado lately that has looked more like the offensive star the league saw in Colorado.
So far in his first season with the Cardinals, fans have seen Arenado get hot for about one two-week period but also go through two predominant slumps. Most recently, Arenado was very unlike himself from late May to mid-June. In 19 games from May 23 to June 13, Arenado had just a .720 OPS with two homers.
This second slump is definitely over though.
Over the last 14 days, Arenado has jumped his OPS to .990 and he’s got four homers over that time. Cut down to the last seven and his OPS jumps to 1.240. In games like the one on Tuesday night, there is a good chance that the Cardinals don’t win without Arenado’s performance.
First, it was Arenado’s two-run homer at the plate, and then he also did it in the field. Despite the Gold Glover’s defensive slump to start the year, he’s showing he’s the same old Nolan at third base now. He just had to get comfortable.
While Arenado’s season slash line of .270/.324/.520 is below many of his seasons in Colorado, his 137 OPS+ is right in line with his peak average in Colorado. On top of that, he’s on pace to break 100 RBI and 30 homers. He’s fine.
Arenado, now fully out of his slump, is streaking heading into the Cardinals’ series at Coors Field coming up and then the All-Star Game in July. He’ll have to keep some level of this surge to finish in the top 10 in MVP voting as he did in five straight years from 2015 to 2019 though.
A deeper look at Arenado outside of Coors is warranted, but for now it’s clear that Arenado’s slump is over and the third baseman has gotten back to his All-Star/Gold Glover ways that made him a star in the first place.