This season, there have been very few positive moments for the St. Louis Cardinals. Even their most exciting wins of the season, back-to-back walk-off wins against Josh Hader and the San Diego Padres, were marred by their place in the standings. Since they took three of four from the Dodgers in late May, only one moment has served to generate any positivity in the fanbase.
That moment was the All-Star Break. The Cardinals entered the break playing solid ball. They seemed to be rebounding from an awful June, and though many still saw a playoff berth as an impossibility, it seemed that the Cardinals could at least finish with a winning record. The Cardinals absolutely had to play well just after the break. A strong stretch meant the difference between buying and selling at the deadline. Unfortunately, they sunk, prompting a fire sale of sorts, which ultimately doomed the 2023 Cardinals to an unceremonious finish. They've mostly played .500 ball since then, but still remain in 5th place in the NL Central. They also never seriously challenged for a playoff spot.
As previously mentioned, this stretch was critical. Obviously, winning just after the break and through August and September was dependent on a few key things. It required the healthy (and effective) return of Adam Wainwright. The Cardinals needed to be able to rely on their other established starters, including Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz, and Jordan Montgomery. Perhaps most importantly, a return to form for some of the team's position players was necessary. Ultimately, these things didn't happen, and now the Cardinals are 66-83. Today, we'll discuss 3 players who experienced particularly disappointing second halves.