Buying or selling the biggest storylines from the Cardinals' series loss to Dodgers

What takeaways should we have from the Cardinals opening series against the Dodgers?

Mar 31, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Steven Matz (32)
Mar 31, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Buy: It's fair to be concerned about Nolan Arenado's rough start, but it's far too early to say he's not the same guy anymore

Nolan Arenado is 1-16 to begin the 2024 season, mustering up just a pulled single to shallow left field as his lone hit over the course of this four-game series. He's consistently taking bad swings at the plate and looks lost offensively. Is it time to panic about Arenado's performance?

No, it's not panic time, but the warning signs are certainly there. Arenado got off to an ice-cold start in 2023 as well, posting a 63 wRC+ during March and April. The star third baseman rebounded through the All-Star Break though, posting a wRC+ of 138, 157, and 142 in May, June, and July, earning himself an All-Star nod in the process.

After that though, things unraveled again for Arenado, posting a 91 wRC+ in August and 40 wRC+ in September, posting a second-half wRC+ of 79, and ending the season on the injured list due to his nagging back injury.

In short, we saw sustained runs of success from Arenado at the plate in 2023, and we saw some sustained runs of struggles as well. Getting off to a 1-16 start isn't going to calm anyone's concerns, but again, it feels like an overreaction to say he's "cooked" or "washed" or "not the same guy anymore" like social media wants you to believe.

Sure, this could be the beginning of a downhill slope for Arenado, but he's also been a streaky hitter throughout his career, often looking just as lost at the plate as he does right now in past seasons for stretches, just to go off at the plate following that.

Keep a close eye on Arenado's performances, but try not to overreact just yet.