Creeping up back towards .500, the St. Louis Cardinals are trying to work their way back towards contention. But if the Cardinals want to have any shot of making the playoffs, they need Nolan Arenado at the top of his game.

On Tuesday, Arenado showed a glimmer of promise towards a turnaround. In a 7-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds, the third baseman helped stoke the flames with a two-run home run. While it was his only hit, the longball hasn't been in Arenado's arsenal much in 2024, as he has recorded just four total home runs.

While it wasn't necessarily an awe-inspiring performance, it was a sign of life from Arenado. Manager Oliver Marmol thinks it was only a sign of what's to come, as he is expecting the third baseman to be back to his old self in short order, via Bally Sports Midwest.

“It was awesome. He's been working hard, that's an understatement. He has been getting after it, sometimes it takes a while to carry into the game. It was good to see him do that today, hopefully we can continue that.”

“He's not going to go down like this. This is a guy that really cares. Before you know it we're going to be seeing the guy that we've counted on,” Marmol continued. “I trust him a ton, he's going to be just fine.”

Alongside his four home runs, Arenado has hit .257 with 25 home runs over 52 games in 2024. It's a far cry from what fans around MLB expect of him. But the Cardinals have gone 8-2 over their last 10 games. It was the spark St. Louis needed to get back into the NL Central race. A 26-27 record isn't pretty, but it at least gives the Cards a chance to compete.

Perhaps that St. Louis streak will breathe life into Nolan Arenado. He may be slumping, but it's not like the talent has been sapped out of him. His Tuesday home run showed the power stroke is still readily available.

The Cardinals need better than .500 play to get into the postseason. But if Arenado is back on track, it would make a world of difference in St. Louis.

Nolan Arenado's track record of success

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) crosses home plate after hitting a 2-run home run in the fourth inning of the MLB baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

There's a reason the Cardinals' 2021 trade for Arenado got as much hype as it did. He was a five-time All-Star with the Colorado Rockies, winning the Gold Glove every season he played. While his Gold Glove streak ended in 2023, Arenado's offense has still been there since joining St. Louis.

Over 501 games total, Arenado has hit .269 with 94 home runs and 326 RBI. He has been an All-Star his first three seasons with the Cardinals, hitting at least 26 home runs and 93 RBI. Those numbers did come in 2023, which casts some doubt as to Arenado's long-term viability.

But even at age-33, Oliver Marmol thinks those concerns aren't worth the head space. A slow start does not mean the end of Nolan Arenado's storied career.

The Cardinals do need him to pick it up, as he is one of their most valuable hitters. But Marmol trusts that he will – as he has always done – work through any problems and get back to mashing the baseball.