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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Sell: The Cardinals lineup can't come through when they are needed

The Cardinals mustered up 14 runs during this four-game series, good for just 3.5 runs per game. Based on how they built this team, they are going to have a tough time winning ball games when the offense is not performing.

Still, even outside of it just being a small sample size and the Dodgers pitching looking filthy for most of the series, this team still had a deep lineup. Even with Lars Nootbaar out, their 1-7 hitters are still one of the deepest in the game, and I still believe this is a top-10 lineup in baseball with the upside to be more than that.

What will make or break their run production in 2024, much like in 2023, is whether or not the middle of the order is locked in or not.

Outside of Paul Goldschmidt, the Cardinals got very little from the middle of their order this series. Nolan Gorman, Nolan Arenado, and Willson Contreras combined to go 6-43 in the four games, with Gorman carrying four of those knocks. Goldschmidt was also the only player to homer, and Gorman was the only middle-of-the-order bat to double. They need consistency and slug from whoever is batting in the 2-5 spots.

The Cardinals are at their best when they get consistent production from the middle of their order, but their lineup depth can help pick up some of the slack. The likes of Jordan Walker, Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar (when he returns), Alec Burleson, Ivan Herrera, and even the duo of Masyn Winn/Victor Scott II can provide sparks for this club when needed. Walker, Donovan, and Nootbaar specifically have the tools to be top hitters on this team.