One of the most disappointing aspects of the Cardinals’ 2023 season is the experience of watching so much good offense going to waste.

It didn’t happen Monday in Arizona, but only because the St. Louis attack overcame yet another blown lead by the team’s firetrap bullpen by binging for five runs in the top of the ninth. The late rally eradicated a one-run deficit and gave the Cardinals a happy 10-6 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Let us pause from the bloviating to take account of a lively offense that often gets overlooked because of the considerable carnage wrought by the St. Louis pitching staff. When we discuss the many points of frustration associated with Cardinals baseball in 2023, the offense should be largely excluded from the conversation.

Every major-league offense goes through downturns during a lengthy season, so there’s no need to obsess and stew over low-scoring stretches by this team because these are normal occurrences for all 30 teams.

This is undeniable: STL hitters have done their part to make this a winning season and put the club in strong postseason contention. But even a high-level offense cannot do it alone, and the Cardinals’ generous run support is frequently voided by the team’s odious run prevention.

The Cardinals rank 11th in the majors with an average of 4.77 runs scored per game. But their inferior pitching/defense is responsible for a terrible yield of 4.97 runs per game. That ranks 25th. And that’s why the Cardinals are 24th in the majors with a .446 winning percentage.

But don’t do something stupid and blame the Cardinal offense. Here’s where the Redbirds rate among the 30 big-league teams in offensive categories:

* 2nd in hard-hit rate, 43%
* 2nd in average exit velocity, 90 mph
* 4th in onbase percentage, .333
* 5th in wRC+ (120) with runners in scoring position.
* 6th in OPS+, 108
* 6th in wRC+, 111
* 7th in batting average, .257
* 7th in slugging percentage, .430
* 7th in OPS, .763
* 7th in home runs per game, 1.36
* 7th in Isolated Power, .173
* 8th in walk rate, 9.1%
* 8th in offensive bWAR, 15.6
* 9th in barrel rate, 8.6
* 10th lowest strikeout rate, 21.8%

This is a deep offense. Based on wRC+ — which stands for park-and-league adjusted runs created — a total of eight regular St. Louis hitters are having above-average campaigns. The league average for wRC+ is 100, so keep that in mind as you scroll through the list of eight:

Paul Goldschmidt, 133 wRC+

Nolan Arenado,  132 wRC+

Brendan Donovan,  124 wRC+

Nolan Gorman,  121 wRC+

Jordan Walker, 117 wRC+

Willson Contreras,  115 wRC+

Lars Nootbaar,  115 wRC+

Paul DeJong, 101 wRC+

Any questions? I’m going to mix sports here. But the 2023 Cardinals are like a Don Coryell-coached football team: they score plenty of points but struggle to prevent opponents from doing the same.

When the Cardinals have scored five or more runs in a game this season, their winning percentage is .727. When the other MLB teams score at least five runs in a game, their collective winning percentage is .784. That tells us a lot. Given the quality of their offense the Cardinals should be winning more games, but the pitching fails them repeatedly.

And this is a consistent offense. The Cardinals have ranked no worse than 11th in the majors in wRC+ during a month this season. They were eighth during the opening month, No. 10 in May, No. 11 in June, and are third in July.

Among the Top 10 MLB teams in wRC+ this season, seven would be in the playoffs or tied for a wild-card spot if the season had ended Monday. As for the three others – currently relegated to the wild-card chase – the Angels are 4 and ½ games out, the Padres are 6.0 games out and the Cardinals are 9.0 games behind the pack.

I can’t help but think where the 2023 Cardinals would be had chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak shown a genuine commitment to winning by doing what was necessary to assemble a plus pitching staff with depth.  But the supercilious Cardinals management ignored an obvious problem and stranded a postseason-worthy offense. It’s a shame.

Mozeliak is pursuing a 2024 pitching upgrade in his trade-deadline angling. He may find it difficult to come up with what he’s looking for just by shopping pitchers on expiring contracts. Mozeliak can’t get something good without trading something good, and we can only hope that he doesn’t do too much harm to his team’s offense.

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.