St. Louis Cardinals: Four predictions for the rest of 2021
That’s (not quite) a wrap
Starting pitching and offensive firepower are two clear needs for the Cardinals if they have any hope of pulling of a miracle postseason run.
Whether that pitching would come from known quantities coming back strong from injury, kids stepping up under the pressure of the bright lights of the big leagues, or – hey, why not? – deadline-day veteran acquisitions turning back the clock and working some magic, fans wouldn’t care. They’ll take stellar performances wherever they might come from.
Similarly, if Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, or anyone else in the lineup morphed into a powerful beast and launched 12-15 balls over the wall and eclipsed Nolan Arenado for the team lead in homers while also leading the Redbirds up the standings, not a single supporter would object.
Another possible surprise could include a new bullpen arm stepping up and staunching the bleeding in terms of free passes. Maybe it’s Giovanny Gallegos demonstrating a level of command and control that gives manager Mike Shildt enough faith in him to assign him closer duties when Alex Reyes continues to walk the ballpark. Or maybe Shildt simply finds another arm he has enough faith in that he doesn’t pitch the arms off the relievers he currently trusts.
Perhaps Matt Carpenter discovers the fountain of youth like he did in the second half of 2018 and provides the patience and power the lineup needs to spark it into a higher gear. Is that too much to ask? Yeah, probably.
Really, though, is any combination of these things likely? No, but hopes and dreams aren’t based on what’s likely. They’re based on what could happen, what might be possible. And St. Louis could make a run at October baseball. I won’t predict that, but we’ll have to see how the last 50-plus games go. Stranger things have happened, so maintain that hope and faith as long as you can.