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 rotation is improved but is still a concern

Last year, the Cardinals' rotation put the club in a hole early and often. By the end of May, it was clear the Cardinals were going to be unable to overcome this flawed group, and it became priority number one for John Mozeliak and the Cardinals front office heading into 2024.

So far this year, the Cardinals ranked 20th in quality starts, 20th in FIP, and 21st in ERA. It has been improvement, and when the offense is producing it is good enough to compete for the playoffs, but there are still concerns that need to be addressed at some point this summer.

Sonny Gray has been the ace the Cardinals hoped he would be. His 2.87 ERA in his 8 starts thus far has given fans confidence every time Gray gets on the rubber. While Jordan Montgomery had a hot stretch in June and July before being dealt, Gray can be that steady, reliable ace all year long.

Free-agent additions Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn have outperformed expectations after an offseason filled with frustration over their signings. Gibson has a 3.81 ERA on the year and has covered at least six innings every time he has taken the ball until a rain delay ruined his last start where he had shut out the Orioles through four innings of work.

Lynn has had his fair share of starts cut short by rain as well, but his 3.68 ERA has helped keep opponents in check and provide the Cardinals with more stability to their rotation than they had last year.

That's the biggest difference this year - stability. Outside of Montgomery once he got into a groove, every other starter on the Cardinals could not be relied upon every fifth. All of them struggled with performance, and some struggled with injuries as well. Now the Cardinals feel good about three of their guys, which is an improvement.

Miles Mikolas and that fifth-starter spot have been a different story though. Mikolas' struggles from 2023 have continued this season and it is unclear if he'll be able to stabilize that production at any point. The even bigger issue is their lack of a fifth starter right now. Steven Matz is once again on the injured list, Zack Thompson and Andre Pallante are still stretching out in Memphis, and the Cardinals' best pitching prospects are not ready to go. This has forced Matthew Liberatore, one of their better relievers this year, to try and cover innings in the rotation.

Have the Cardinals improved their rotation? Yes. But they need to add more from outside the organization or see a few young arms rise to the occasion in order to stay in the race through September. They really need a second starter to pair with Gray as well if they are going to have any chance of winning games in October.