The 6 biggest concerns we have about the Cardinals as the 2024 season begins

We are just days away from the Cardinals' 2024 season beginning, but there are still many concerns that fans and experts have about the club.

Mar 7, 2024; Jupiter, Florida, USA;  St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) pitches
Mar 7, 2024; Jupiter, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) pitches / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Can their underwhelming rotation overhaul be carried by an elite offense and strong bullpen, or is it destined to sink the team once again?

Finally the elephant in the room. Can the Cardinals' starting pitching in 2024 be meaningfully better than what they got from their rotation in 2023?

When you look at the names they are rolling out to begin the season, it certainly does not inspire much confidence.

Again, looking at that rotation, it's easy to see why people are concerned that the results won't be better than 2023.

If you want some reason for optimism regarding the rotation, here are three stories I've written that dive into how, on paper, this group is actually a pretty sizable upgrade from what the Cardinals got in 2023.

1. Here is my piece on the the Cardinals' inability to get quality starts (the stat) from their back-end of the rotation in 2023, and how Lynn/Gibson performed much better in that area compared to Wainwright/Woodford/Rom/Liberatore/Hudson. It's pretty jarring when you see the difference.

(Side note: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had an excellent story on this recently as well).

2. I recently went back and looked at the Cardinals' horrible month of April. The rotation was horrendous, and we'd have to see major steps back from Gray/Mikolas/Matz/Lynn/Gibson in 2024 to repeat how bad that was last year.

3. And lastly, I just posted a story on the Cardinals 15-13 month of May, which is good for an 87-win pace over a full season. The Cardinals had a great offense that month, a good bullpen, but surprisingly, the rotatoin was awful still. Once you see how bad the starters were when they were still winning games, you'll see why even the small improvements the Cardinals are expecting from their rotation can reshape this team.

Even so, I and most Cardinals fans still wonder if the pitching can actually be good enough for the Cardinals to contend. Heck, can the pitching even just not be so bad that it sinks the ship? If the Cardinals had paired Gray with someone like Aaron Nola, Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Dylan Cease, or whatever other front-line starter, I think we'd be having a much different conversation.

But they didn't. So here we are.

One year later, the same major concern remains.

The Cardinals believe they've done enough to fix the problems from 2023, and we'll find out soon enough if their choices will pay off for them or not.

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