Pivotal Brewers series might send the Cardinals into a retool

The Milwaukee Brewers may kill all hopes for a playoff run in 2024 for the St. Louis Cardinals.
St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers
St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals entered a pivotal series against a division rival on Thursday night. They had a 4-game set scheduled over the weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers, a team duking it out against the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central.

At the start of the series, the Cardinals were 6 games under .500, and they were losers of their last 4 games. A series win and the Cars would sit at 18-22 just 4 games back of the NL Central crown. While that isn't ideal at this point in the season, it could spell a change in the tides, especially with injured players returning soon.

Instead of starting out the series with a demonstrative victory with their ace, Sonny Gray, on the mound, the Cardinals were flattened by the Brewers. Gray allowed 3 home runs -- he allowed a total of 8 last year on the season. The offense's struggles with runners in scoring position continued, as they went 0-8 on the night and stranded 10 batters on the night. The lone bright spot was a solo home run from Lars Nootbaar in the 3rd inning.

The Cardinals' top 5 batters went 4-19 with 6 strikeouts. Two key moments came in the 4th and 5th innings. In the 4th, Alec Burleson and Nolan Gorman reached base with no one out, and Dylan Carlson and Masyn Winn subsequently got doubled up and struck out to end the inning. In the 5th, the Cardinals had bases loaded and no one out with Lars Nootbaar, Nolan Arenado, and Alec Burleson due up. Nootbaar grounded into a force out and couldn't plate the run, Arenado popped out to the infield, and Burleson flew out to right field. As has been the case all year, the Cardinals couldn't capitalize on run-scoring opportunities.

This game, and the season thus far, have felt eerily similar to the treacherous 2023 season. At this point, the team's lack of success on multiple facets isn't a blip; it's become the norm.

The Brewers can bury the Cardinals this series and send the team into a retool or even a full-on rebuild.

If the Cardinals lose 3 games this weekend, they'll be sitting at 16-24, 8 games below .500. On May 12th last year, the Cardinals sat at 14-25 and were also in last place in the NL Central. While the record this year is slightly better, the vibes around the team are equally abysmal.

Selling at the trade deadline, and possibly even before the deadline, is a probability. Retooling is essential. The DeWitt family and John Mozeliak absolutely have to make changes to the coaching staff and player group very soon.