After raising our hopes with a brief non-losing spell spell, the Cardinals are raising our blood pressure again. After prompting “They’re Back!” reactions, the fellers have crashed again and are 7 ½ games in back of the first-place Brewers in the NL Central funfair.

And yet … the Cardinals are not out of it even after losing four of their last game to slip-slide into a record (25-35) that’s 10 games under .500.  I’m not being a homer by saying this here, and the Cardinals actually deserve to be out of this toad race. I’m just noting the overall grossness of the division that houses the Redbirds. Entering the new week, NL Central teams collectively have a .461 winning percentage in games played outside of the division. So even at 7 and 1/2 games out of first place, the St. Louis still has a 24.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. That’s according to FanGraphs.

As I’ve been saying – even during their misleading 11-3 heat-up streak, I can’t bring myself to trust the Cardinals. They’re too inconsistent offensively. The overall pitching is problematic. The bullpen has the second-worst save percentage (50%) in the majors. The defense is damagingly defective. The manager … well… he’s uptight, making poor decisions and the strain is showing. These players could use a strong leader but Albert Pujols has switched to a broadcasting career.

The Cardinals can flap their yaps all they want to about how they’re a good team that has been bitten by bad luck and injuries. They can tell us how they can’t catch a break and have lost 13 games by one run. They can point to their plus-3 run differential and insist that it’s only a matter of time until they surge and conquer. And they should feel free to mention that the Pythagorean theory – based on runs scored and runs allowed – suggests the Redbirds should be 30-30 through 60 games.

Here’s my answer to all of that: you’re 25-35.

And we recently saw you go 11-3 to uplift the Best Fans In Baseball (*BFIB) – only to collapse and deflate your supporters.

And other than the 11-3 rally stretch, the Cardinals are 14 and 32.

They’re so bad, only Kansas City and Oakland have more impoverished winning percentages than you do. And the Royals and A’s are historically hideous, having won only 30 of 120 games.

The Cardinals are miles and miles away from respectability and I’m burned out on the phony optimism. Win a bunch of games and then we can have a conversation about how they’re better than their record shows.

As Hall of Fame NFL coach Bill Parcells famously said. “You are what your record says you are.”

And that applies to the 2023 Cardinals.

“For the people out there getting upset, it’s understandable, but I wouldn’t count us out,” pitcher Miles Mikolas told reporters after Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh. He added, “This isn’t the start we wanted, but we have veterans and young guys starting to step up. It’s time to see who wants it, be a leader and get the job done.”

OK, as Parcells once said, “You lose with potential. You win with performance.”

Mikolas also pointed out the number of Cardinals that have won MVPs and Gold Gloves, etc. Along similar lines, we’ve heard a lot this season about how the Cardinals have more than a few players that have winning histories. Which evidently means they’ll turn things around and win in 2023.

Sigh. OK, let’s go back to another Parcells quote from back in the day: “No matter how much you’ve won, no matter how many games, no matter how many championships, no matter how many Super Bowls – you’re not winning now, so you stink.”


1. I’m confused. We were told, many times, how the Cardinals were playing 19 games in 19 days, which left them exhausted and presumably unable to perform to their maximum level. The local media was happy to advance this silly, excuse-making narrative. I wanted no part of the hand-holding; it was mostly bogus. Sure enough, after two consecutive days off, the freshened Cardinals returned to their jobs and proceeded to lose three in a row to the Pirates, a team that had gone 8-19 before playing the Cardinals. The Pirates outscored the Cards 13-4 in the final 24 innings of the series.

2. The St. Louis rotation pitched better over the last nine games, compiling a 2.38 ERA since May 25. And the improvement was led by Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty and Jordan Montgomery; they collectively pitched to a 1.46 ERA in seven combined starts covering 43 innings. Alas, despite the good work from the starting pitchers, the Redbirds went 3-6 in the nine games.

3. The St. Louis offense dried up over the past 10 games. They has averaged 2.4 runs, batted .194, posted a .616 OPS and gone 7 for 62 (.113) with runners in scoring position.

4. After multiple busts over the weekend, the Cards have hit .189 with the bases full this season; that’s the sixth-lowest average in the majors in bases-full situations.

5. Jordan Walker: In his first game back with the Cardinals since he was recalled from Triple A Memphis, the rookie outfielder went 2 for 12, had a 72 percent ground-ball rate and misplayed a fly ball in left field. Give it time.

6. Hulking rookie slugger Luken Baker made his big-league debut Sunday and went 2-for-4. That was positive, and we offer sincere congratulations. And that 2-for-4 looks even more impressive when we note that Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Gorman, Nolan Arenado, Juan Yepez, Paul DeJong and Brendan Donovan went a combined 0 for 20 in Sunday’s series finale. And that’s how you lose a 2-1 game.

7. Andrew Knizner put up the STL run with a solo homer. This season Kiz has a .476 slugging percentage and five homers. Meanwhile, No. 1 catcher Willson Contreras is batting .215 with six homers and a .365 slugging percentage. Since May 7 Knizner is batting .277 with a .638 slug. Since May 19, Contreras is batting .098 with a .136 slug. Whoa.

8. Let’s talk about injuries. Let’s talk about the first-place Brewers. They won the first three games of a four-game set against the Reds. Through Sunday the Crew had 14 players on the IL including starting pitchers Brandon Woodruff, Wade Miley and Eric Lauer. Another potential pitcher for their rotation, Aaron Ashby, could miss the entire season with a shoulder issue. And Milwaukee is 11-12 in games started by their two healthy starters, Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta. The Brewers have had so many injuries they’ve already used 45 different players this season. And they’re leading the division with a 32-27 record that’s commendable under the circumstances.

9. Your St. Louis Cardinals have 297 games missed by players on the IL, and that’s the fourth-lowest total by a team in the majors. In the NL Central the Reds (619), Brewers (568), Pirates (472) and Cubs (354) each have more games missed by injured players than the Cardinals so far in 2023. And the Cardinals are in last place. Just remember that the next time you hear propaganda about how the poor Cardinals are suffering from injuries. In the outfield, yes. But Tyler O’Neill is a non-factor, anyway. Dylan Carlson is a below-average hitter. Lars Nootbaar is a good player, so his absence stings a little. The bottom line is, the Cardinals don’t have quality depth. That’s another negative for the front office.

10. Since May 24, the Cardinals’ DH position is hitting .162 with a .216 slug and horrendous .441 OPS – and with a 30% strikeout rate. The Cardinals had strong DH production in April, but the DH delegation is hitting .203 since the beginning of May. That said, the slugging percentage over that time is .432. I’m just trying to be fair. The Cardinals hope that the Big Luken can help the cause.

11. How will history recall the Tres Barrera Era in St. Louis? He appeared in six games and had two at-bats since being promoted from Triple A Memphis in a bizarre and senseless fixation by manager Oli Marmol, who wanted a third catcher so he could pinch-hit for Andrew Knizner. Considering Knizner’s offensive improvement over the past several weeks or so, why was Marmol sweating about the need for a third catcher? All it did was weaken an already suspect bench. Strange as hell. The brain drain is stunning.

12. Paul DeJong has drifted into a terrible slump, but he did OK in the three games at Pittsburgh. DeJong went three for 10, walked three times, and had a double. Ths .300 average and .462 onbase percentage. I know: no one cares. In his last 10 games DeJong is 4 for 34 (.118) with no homers or RBI. He hasn’t homered since May 22 in Cincinnati. DeJong is playing above-average defense at shortstop – which matters because of Tommy Edman’s redeployment to the outfield.

13. Alec Burleson: Making note of his short major-league experience, I’ve tried to be fair to him. But he’s got to do better than bat .223 with a .278 onbase percentage and .374 slug. Burly was 0 for 8 in Pittsburgh. In 25 plate appearances at DH this season, the rookie has hit .136 with a .513 OPS.

14. Speaking (again) of the DH spot: in 75 plate appearances as a designated hitter this season, Contreras is batting .186 with one homer, five RBI and a .305 slugging percentage.

15. The Cardinals are in Texas for three games against the formidable Rangers. Texas has the second-best record (38-20) in the majors behind No. 1 Tampa Bay and have won 12 of their last 15. The Rangers lead MLB with an average of 6.48 runs per game and rank first in batting average (.278) and onbase percentage. They’re also No. 2 overall in slugging (.461) and OPS (.806.) If the Cardinals have a bad series, we might hear something about the boys being utterly pooped after having to play six consecutive games without a day off.

The Texas pitching has improved dramatically under former Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux, who was obviously very happy to go to work with comeback manager Bruce Bochy, the three-time World Series champion and future Hall of Famer. The Rangers have the third-best ERA (3.65) in the majors, and their starters rank second with a 3.20 ERA.

Good luck to Adam Wainwright, Matthew Liberatore and Jack Flaherty, who will start the three games against the Rangers — who are 19-8 at home. The Rangers are averaging 7.1 runs, slugging .517 and have a .878 OPS in their 27 games at Global Life Field. All three stats are the best in the majors for home teams. The Cardinals are 13-19 on the road and have lost five of their last six games away from St. Louis.

Thanks for reading …

Please pardon my typos …


Bernie invites you to listen to his sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at or the 590 app.

Follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz

Listen to the “Seeing Red” podcast on the Cardinals, featuring Will Leitch and Miklasz. It’s available on your preferred podcast platform. Or follow @seeingredpod on Twitter for a direct link.

All stats used in my baseball columns are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Bill James Online and Baseball Prospectus.

Bernie Miklasz

Bernie Miklasz

For the last 35 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.