5 important things we've learned about the Cardinals at the season's 30% mark

We are 30% into the Cardinals season and there are five important things we can takeaway about this club already.
St. Louis Cardinals v Detroit Tigers - Game Two
St. Louis Cardinals v Detroit Tigers - Game Two / Duane Burleson/GettyImages
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The St. Louis Cardinals are 30% of the way through the 2024 season, and it's been a roller coaster ride, to say the least.

The lows have been frequent and more drastic than the highs to this point, but the Cardinals are playing better baseball as of late, quieting the noise for now on a potential retool or rebuild and right back in the thick of the NL Wild Card and NL Central races. The majority of the season is still ahead of this team, but it's fair to say that it is no longer "early" anymore.

So what have we learned about this club through their first 50 games? While there are still a variety of things that remain uncertain about this Cardinals team, I think it's fair to make these five declarations about them thus far.

The bullpen is the the Cardinals' biggest strength

Coming into the season, there was a feeling that this Cardinals bullpen could end up being a real strength of the club. While the offense was supposed to be their calling card, I was one of a growing group of voices saying this bullpen could be among the top 10 in all of baseball.

So far, so good.

Ryan Helsley, JoJo Romero, and Andrew Kittredge have been as good of a trio as you could ask for so far this season. Every time they enter the game, you believe they will get the job done, and if the Cardinals can hand them the ball with a lead, good things happen.

Last year, the rotation put the Cardinals behind in most games, but the bullpen was just as unreliable. St. Louis had the 10th most blown saves in baseball, and it felt like, throughout the season, they only had one or two relievers they felt confident in at any given time. The stress of having to cover a lot of innings for the rotation was real, but it was so deflating when the team would have a lead just to see the bullpen surrender it.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for their ascent this season as a whole is their dramatic improvement when it comes to swings and misses. Last year, the Cardinals' bullpen ranked 26th in baseball in K/9 and were 18th in FIP as well. So far this year, their relievers rank 12th in K/9 and 6th in FIP among all bullpens.

Outside of the big three I mentioned earlier, guys like Matthew Liberatore, Ryan Fernandez, John King, and Nick Robertson have provided the Cardinals with further depth in their bullpen that allows them to hold down leads even when their best guys are not available. They are expecting to add free-agent addition Keynan Middleton to that group soon as well, and we could see a number of other arms factor into the mix later as well.