Was Monday's loss a blip or a reality check for the Cardinals?

The Cardinals lost a tough one in Cincinnati on Monday, though they have been playing a lot better. Was it just a blip on the radar screen, or will it serve as a reality check?
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Monday's loss may be a reality check for Cardinals

During this recent stretch, we've seen the Cardinals beat some teams that have performed quite well. While the Red Sox have struggled a bit, their pitching has been good, and the Cardinals torched the Sox staff for 20 runs in the series. St. Louis also swept the Orioles and the Cubs.

So why could Monday's game serve as a reality check? Well, the Cardinals' offense has been the main issue this season. Despite having stars around Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, the offense has struggled.

Even in the midst of their recent surge, the Cardinals remain at the bottom of the National League in runs scored. Only the White Sox have scored fewer runs than the Cardinals this year. And after winning five in a row against solid teams, a loss to the struggling Reds is certainly deflating.

These are the teams that the Cardinals need to beat. Monday's game was very winnable and the Cardinals just let it slip away. Next, they have to face the Phillies and the Astros to close out their road trip.

It just felt like a game where they beat themselves. They scored early on Goldschmidt's home run and couldn't muster anything after that. They also committed two errors and allowed two unearned runs.

Instead of keeping the win streak alive and reaching .500 for the first time since April 17, they ran into similar issues that cost them games in 2023, and I'm still not fully convinced this team is back yet.