After beating the Braves, have the Cardinals proven their worth?

Have the Cardinals proven their worth? One could make that case after they beat the Braves this week.
Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Two
Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals - Game Two / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

Last night, the Cardinals made a big statement, winning 4-1 and clinching a series victory over the Braves.

While yes, the Braves haven't been as good as they were expected to be and are a little banged up, that doesn't take away from what the Cardinals just accomplished. They beat a really good team and moved to three games above the .500 mark for the second time this week.

In fact, after beating Atlanta, St. Louis is only 3.5 games back of the top Wild Card spot in the National League, so there are reasons to be optimistic.

But have the Cardinals finally proven their worth? They've beaten some pretty good teams and appear to be trending in the right direction.

Have the Cardinals proven their worth?

There are a number of ways you can look at this. You can point to the fact that they have beaten some good teams such as the Orioles and Braves. The Orioles series was a sweep, and the Cardinals grabbed two out of three from the Braves. This is very encouraging.

And based on how they've played since May 12 when they pulled off a nice comeback win against the Brewers, you can make the case that the team is finally playing to its potential. They are an NL best 26-14 since then.

So, by that argument, yes, the Cardinals have proven their worth. But there are still some hurdles to clear.

The Cardinals have some big tests in August and September. They'll play teams like the Brewers, Dodgers, Twins, Yankees, and Guardians down the stretch. They need to be able to beat those teams.

Also, one concern is that the Cardinals haven't played well against some teams that they should have probably beaten. They went just 3-3 against the Marlins, even losing a series to the Fish at loanDepot Park last week. They also lost two out of three to the White Sox in May and even managed to only split with the Rockies. They're 7-7 against three of the worst teams in the league.

The Cardinals really need to take advantage of bad teams if they want to be a contender, and that's why this series with the Reds is a great opportunity for them to not only create some separation in the NL Central between some of the middle-of-the-pack teams but also prove that they can handle most teams that are well below .500.

The schedule for July doesn't appear to be too tough, so this could be the Cardinals' chance to really beat up on some middling teams.