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 addition of the third Wild Card allows the Cardinals plenty of time to figure things out

Some people are already looking at the addition of the third Wild Card as hurting the game of baseball, and while I'm not fully there yet, I can see why.

Even with how awful the Cardinals have been this year, they are just two games out of the third Wild Card before their first game of the Cubs series. The two teams ahead of them in the Wild Card standings right now, the Giants and the Diamondbacks, are both below .500 as well. In fact, even the Reds, who are 20-30, are just 5.5 games back from securing that spot.

This is crazy! If this was before 2012, when MLB added the second Wild Card, the Cardinals would be 6.5 games back of the Atlanta Braves for that first Wild Card spot. Now, the National League has been pretty top-heavy this year, which is part of the issue, but we saw last season the bar got lowered significantly to enter the playoffs, and it's allowing teams like the Cardinals to make a push, even if some do not believe they should.

Now, this entire conversation can change in a matter of weeks if the Padres (who hold the third Wild Card) or any of the teams behind them catch fire and create a gap in the race. But honestly, teams have now started to build their rosters knowing they can sneak in with a low 80s win team. Teams who feel like they can make a run at the deadline may add enough talent to separate themselves, but there is a good chance we have a congested race at least until the middle or end of August.

What does this mean for the Cardinals? They have time. As long as the National League continues to not take a firm hold of that third Wild Card, the Cardinals are within striking distance of a playoff spot. Frankly, they are only 5 games back of the division right now as well. With 70% of the season still remaining, this club has time to figure things out.

The question remains, will they? I can't answer that question for you today, but I feel pretty confident in those five defining characteristics of the Cardinals so far this season.