Former MLB GM throws cold water on Cardinals hot streak

The Cardinals appear to have found their groove and are playing much better baseball. However, not everybody is convinced that they're back, and Jim Bowden of The Athletic thinks they'll still be sellers at the deadline
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

The Cardinals have now won five consecutive series, and with a 5-3 win on Wednesday at Great American Ballpark, they finally got back to the .500 mark.

The vibes around the ballclub and the city of St. Louis are good at the moment, and it seems as though the Cardinals are right back to where they should be.

Still, that doesn't mean everybody is convinced. Even within the fanbase, there is still skepticism.

On Wednesday, Jim Bowden of The Athletic appeared on the BK & Ferrario podcast on 101 ESPN and threw cold water on the Cardinals' recent hot streak, predicting that they'll end up as sellers at the trade deadline.

"If we match them up against the best teams in the National League, to me, they're not in the conversation," Bowden said.

Former GM throws cold water on Cardinals

Bowden spent 16 years as a general manager before becoming an insider, so he certainly knows the signs of a good team and what to look for. Clearly, he doesn't see those signs in the Cardinals.

Bowden highlighted the team's run differential, offensive stats, and lack of starting pitching depth.

While the rotation is much improved from a year ago thanks to the additions of Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn, and Kyle Gibson, Bowden doesn't seem to believe that Lynn and Gibson will be able to keep this up.

To be fair, the National League is wide open. Only the Dodgers and Phillies have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. And thanks to yesterday's win, the Cardinals are just 4.5 games back of first place in the NL Central and just a half-game back in the Wild Card race.

Because of this, there is some hope for the Cardinals. But I find myself agreeing with a lot of what Bowden is saying. When you put the Cardinals up against teams like the Dodgers, Phillies, and even the Braves, it's hard to imagine them surviving a best-of-three Wild Card series. Having Gray as the ace helps, but if they were to lose his start in Game 1, they'd be in trouble for the rest of the series.

The Cardinals are also still near the bottom of the league in runs scored despite their improved offensive performance, so it's hard to imagine this team being a legitimate playoff contender.

I don't want to be negative. I'll always root for the Cardinals to win every game and add big pieces at the trade deadline, but Bowden isn't wrong in his assessment of the team. This doesn't seem like a playoff team to me, and it's going to take a lot more for me to be convinced that it is.

As of now, I also still believe that the Cardinals will be sellers at the trade deadline. They've been trending in the wrong direction for several years now. Unless they continue beating good teams, it's going to be hard to count on a big run from this club.

Based on their recent track record, I also am not sure I see the front office making that big move to put them over the top. They've settled for incremental improvements rather than major upgrades, and it's hard to imagine them changing their course, especially after passing on guys like Jordan Montgomery, Aaron Nola, Corbin Burnes, and Dylan Cease and settling for Gibson and Lynn.