Why There is Still Hope for the Cardinals
The Cardinals are undoubtedly one of the best-hitting teams in baseball, and there has been no lack of offense, being 9th in OPS in the entire league. There is no doubt that the team can hit. This team is 9th in OPS even without some of their best hitters, like Nolan Arenado, performing at the level the Cardinals have seen in the past couple of years. Arenado is only on pace for a 2 WAR this year, compared to the 7.9 fWAR we have seen in the past. Along with the Cardinals having the 2nd highest hard-hit percentage in the entire MLB, it almost seems that the baseball gods are not on their side this year.
The Cardinals always knew that the offense would be able to win games for the club single-handedly, and this is one of the reasons that the Cardinals should consider themselves still in the running this year. The pitching has been on a positive incline as Miles Mikolas seems to have figured out his stuff, posting a solid 1.93 ERA in May compared to April. Along with Jack Flaherty having strong starts, if the Cardinals are able to acquire pitching at the deadline, there is simply no way that the team should continue to struggle the way they currently are.
The Awful Division
I believe that one of the reasons the Cardinals' playoff odds are still high is simply because the division in the NL Central is weak. This comes as no surprise to anyone, as the Cardinals are 11 games under .500 and just 8 games back in the division. It could be worse, even though it seems like rock bottom.
The Pirates are currently leading the division, 0.5 games above the Brewers, with a record of 32-27 (I can't believe I'm saying this in June, but it's happening). I think the Pirates will come down to earth soon, as they showed with their terrible May following their historic start in April. It seems to be the Brewers' division to lose at this point, but they are simply not playing their best baseball and are hindered by injuries.
With the NL Central being a toss-up, all the Cardinals need to do is win the games they should and scratch out a couple of series wins. It is very likely that the Cardinals could end up right in the mix after everything is said and done.