For the first time in two months, the Cardinals are playing the kind of baseball that’s more in line with the franchise standards.

Their recent upswing doesn’t come close to erasing the overall disappointment of the 2023 season, but it’s nice to get a break from the spate of losing and negativity and have reasons to smile.

Let’s review.

1. The Cardinals won for the fourth consecutive time Tuesday, competing with unwavering determination in a tight game to claim a 6-4 victory over the Marlins in 10 innings. The deciding blow was Nolan Arenado’s three-run homer, a dramatic walk-off piece that became an instant highlight in a season that’s lacked excitement.

2. The Cardinals have won six of their last seven games and are 7-2 in their last nine.

3. The Cards have seized their last three series and won four of their last five sets. Starting with a successful weekend against the Mets at Citi Field last month, the Redbirds are 6-2-1 in their last nine series.

4. That’s an impressive turnaround considering that the Cardinals failed to win a single series from May 22 through June 14, going 0-4 with two splits.

5. Add it all up, and the Cardinals are 15-10 in their last 25 games, their finest stretch since winning 11 of 14 during a two-week splurge in May.

6. Improved starting pitching has been a base of strength. Adam Wainwright and Matthew Liberatore have been a disaster, but the team’s three best starters are coming through. During the current 15-10 stretch, Jordan Montgomery, Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas have combined for a 2.68 ERA in 90 and ⅔ innings. That includes a collective 1.86 earned-run average by Monty, Flaherty and Mikolas over 58 innings in July.

7. The Cardinals, 9-6 in July, rank fourth in the majors this month with a starting-pitching ERA of 3.21. Only the Padres, Mets and Mariners have done better with their starting pitching in July.  In addition the Cardinals have dialed up seven quality starts in their last 15 games. That includes quality starts in their last three games by Flaherty, Mikolas and Montgomery.

8. During the 15-10 stage the St. Louis offense has put together its most consistent stretch of the season, averaging 5.3 runs per game. Since June 17, the Cardinals rank second in the National League in onbase percentage (.353), OPS (.814) and wRC+ (125) and are third in batting average (.278) and slugging percentage (.461.)

That 125 wRC+ means the Cardinals are 25 percent above league average offensively over their last 25 games. And the Redbirds have batted .290 with runners in scoring position over that time.

9. The Cardinals have benefited from many contributions from their hitters over the last month. But the four who stand out are Nolan Arenado, Brendan Donovan, Willson Contreras and Paul Goldschmidt. During the 15-10 streak the foursome has combined for 21 homers, 20 doubles and 71 RBI. That’s 55.4% of the team’s RBI since June 17.

10. Since June 17 the Cardinals have three hitters ranked among the top seven in the National League in OPS: Contreras (1.078), Donovan (1.033) and Arenado (1.033). Contreras (2nd), Donovan (6th) and Arenado (8th) are among the NL leaders in wRC+ over that time. Over the last 25 games the Cardinals have six hitters that are above the league average offensively per wRC+: Contreras, Donovan, Arenado, Goldschmidt, Jordan Walker and Paul DeJong.

The positives are worthy of our appreciation.

No one is organizing a parade for a 15-10 spell, but the winning is a pleasant break from the anger, frustration and tedium of losing.

After losing to the Mets on June 16, the Cardinals (27-43) fell to a season-worst 16 games under .500 and were dead last in the National League with a .386 winning percentage.

Since then, the Redbirds (15-10) rank sixth in the NL with a .600 winning percentage. The improvement is obvious.

Of course, this little STL uprising could end soon. After completing the Miami series on Wednesday afternoon, the Cardinals head out to play four games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, then go to Arizona for three games. After that it’s four more (at home) against the Cubs, and three (at home) vs. Minnesota.

And then there’s the upcoming Aug. 1 trade deadline, a highly anticipated event that could strip the Cardinals of Montgomery, Flaherty, closer Jordan Hicks and setup reliever Chris Stratton – not to mention other possibilities.

During this period of uncertainty, Arenado is setting a perfect example for his teammates by blocking out the distractions and locking in with maximum intensity. In the back-to-back wins over the Marlins Arenado went 4 for 7 with a homer and a double drove home seven of his team’s 11 runs.

“I’m still playing for something — I know I am,” Arenado told reporters after leading the Cardinals to victory on Tuesday. “I don’t know if it’s that sense of pride or what, but I’m playing for something. I don’t look at the standings anymore because I’m past that, but I’m still going out there and trying to win ballgames every night.”

The Cardinals have moved ahead of the Pirates and into fourth place in the NL Central. Arenado will continue to compete as if the division title is on the line.

“We’ve got 60-plus games left, we’re 10 games out of the division, we’re not going to win the wild card, so we’ve got to try and win this division,” he said late Tuesday. “I mean, I wouldn’t put [winning the division] past us.”

The FanGraphs odds give the Cardinals a 9.2% chance of winning the NL Central. But don’t tell Arenado that. I respect his attitude. He refuses to give up, and you can’t extinguish his competitive fire.

In a welcome change from their dismal and depressing season, the Cardinals have shown renewed energy and displayed the quality starting pitching they’ve needed all along. The offense has clicked in all phases: raw power, getting on base at a high rate, and timely hitting.

The last 25 games gave us a look at what might have been in 2023.

Thanks for reading …


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

Please follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz

The “Seeing Red” podcast on the Cardinals, featuring Will Leitch and B. Miklasz is available at, the 590 the fan app or your preferred podcast platform. Follow @seeingredpod on Twitter for a direct link.

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

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.