What we all knew was coming has finally become official. For the first time since 2018, the Cardinals will not be going to the postseason. A 7-3 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday night officially sealed their fate for the 2023 season.
Now, the focus will be on 2024 and beyond and finding ways to prevent another season like this from happening again. There are plenty of reasons as to why the Cardinals will not be playing this October.
It's been a very disappointing season in St. Louis, one that nobody expected, even after a lackluster offseason. But things went south very quickly. They started off 10-24 and never recovered. There were some brief moments of hope, like when the Cardinals went on an 11-3 run after their poor start.
But even that was fleeting. The Cardinals collapsed even further and now find themselves officially eliminated from the playoff hunt for the first time in five years.
What went wrong
It's safe to say that a little bit of everything went wrong for the Cardinals this season, but it was mostly on the pitching side of things.
First of all, the front office failed to address the obvious holes in the starting rotation. They let Jose Quintana walk in free agency, and the only move they made was bringing back Adam Wainwright on a one-year, $17.5 million contract. It didn't work out, though Wainwright did recently pick up his 200th career win.
Still, even if they weren't going to go after the likes of Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodon, or Justin Verlander, there were other options available such as Chris Bassitt and Nathan Eovaldi.
Their pitching staff faltered. The rotation went first, but then the bullpen grew taxed and began to falter.
The offense was one of the few strengths of this team, but there were still plenty of struggles. The team is now 13-25 in one-run games. Oftentimes, the offense has been relied on very heavily thanks to the struggles of the pitching staff.
But the team has struggled with runners in scoring position as well, and the offense has at times been feast or famine, so even with the lineup being an overall strength, there were certain issues that still plagued them.
The defense has also endured more than its fair share of struggles, though things have been much better lately. Still, the Cardinals didn't adjust accordingly to the new rules which placed restrictions on the shift, and they paid the price.
These are all areas where the Cardinals will need to improve in 2024.