It may seem too soon to start thinking about the playoffs, but a hot start for the Cardinals and expanded playoffs gives them a great chance.
The St. Louis Cardinals seem to be clicking. When the offense struggles, the pitching steps up. If the pitching is subpar, the offense breaks out. They are showing signs of being a complete team and their hot start to the 2022 season reflects that.
While the regular season is roughly two weeks in, the Cardinals are rolling. In the vulnerable NL Central division, the team seems to be sitting in a good place here towards the back end of April. Make no mistake, the Cardinals’ April schedule is a cakewalk. As I wrote recently, they have a great opportunity to take advantage of a weak schedule.
The Cardinals have played the Pirates, Royals, and Marlins with a matchup on deck against the Cincinnati Reds. Needless to say, teams that the Cardinals are expected to beat. A series against the Milwaukee Brewers so far is the only measuring stick against serious competition. The road series ended in a split.
Is it too early to start talking playoffs? As crazy as it sounds, no.
The Cardinals, with their nice start to the season, can probably play roughly .500 baseball the rest of the season and still be in a good spot to make the playoffs. With expanded playoffs it will be easier than ever to grab a spot and the bottom half of the National League is pretty weak.
It might be premature to start thinking about the playoffs, and the season is long. In fact, a 162-game regular season almost seems redundant when half the teams in the sport make the playoffs, in my opinion. The regular season could pose as an extended spring training for some teams, who will likely have a good idea by the middle of summer that they’re probably playoff-bound. Regardless, they are set up to succeed the rest of the season.