7 pleasant surprises for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2021

Miranda Remaklus
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 12: Members of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 at Busch Stadium on September 12, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 12: Members of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 at Busch Stadium on September 12, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) /
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ST LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 12: Members of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 at Busch Stadium on September 12, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 12: Members of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 at Busch Stadium on September 12, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) /

It’s been a wild ride for the St. Louis Cardinals, who are on the verge of making the playoffs.

As we get closer to October, it’s hard to believe how much the St. Louis Cardinals have actually been through this season.

Several pitchers went down with injuries. The most prominent being the team’s presumptive ace Jack Flaherty. He went down with an oblique in June only to return in August to go back on the injured list with a shoulder ailment. He is slowly working on his pitches and getting ready to come back for the final stretch.

Miles Mikolas started the year on the injured list after not being available in 2020. He returned in May only to go back on the injured list. He has returned and is slowly building back up to be a version of the pitcher we expected. And then some. After his start Friday, we now know all it takes is a “nice sage bath” and we get a spectacular version of Mikolas.

Carlos Martinez struggled to find the consistency needed to be anywhere near effective. He landed on the 60-day injured list and it’s uncertain whether we will ever see Martinez in a Cardinals uniform again.

Kwang Hyun Kim pitches well but struggles with lower back issues that have landed him on the injured list several times. After struggling during starts, he is now pitching out of the bullpen.

Alex Reyes became the team’s closer after Jordan Hicks went down with arm issues. Reyes had a horrible start to September and ultimately lost the closer role. But, after effective outings versus the Mets and Padres, he seems to have regained some confidence and returning to form at the right time.

The lineup has had its fair share of struggles too. Paul DeJong had a cracked rib that kept him on the injured list for a while. Harrison Bader started the season on the injured list with a forearm issue. Just as he was making strides in returning, he made an awkward dive to catch a ball that left him with a cracked rib. Tyler O’Neill even struggled with hand issues and needed some time off due to a food allergy and a reaction to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Yadier Molina have been what you expect but, too, have had their share of streaks that include inconsistency at the plate. But the offense and defensive gems generated by this trio have been every bit what’s been expected and then some.

Let’s discuss the pleasant spots that have lifted this Cardinals team.

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