For the first time since 1995 when Joe Torre got the axe for poor performance, the Cardinals will be finishing a season with an interim manager after they fired Mike Matheny following an 8-2 loss to the Reds on Saturday night. The dismissal ends what started out as a successful relationship between Matheny and the Cardinals as they made the playoffs in his first four seasons at the helm, including a World Series appearance in 2013. It was a smooth transition from the Tony LaRussa Era and the honeymoon period was an extended one as well! Life was good in St. Louis!
Then in 2016, the arch-rival Cubs officially took the throne as the top dog in the NL Central and things got sour as the Cardinals missed the playoffs for the next two seasons. As of right now, they’re only one game above .500 and a third consecutive season without October baseball at Busch Stadium (which hasn’t happened since the 1990s) appears to be a serious possibility. They’re just used to winning in St. Louis and there hasn’t been enough of it in recent times.
Even with the results in mind, this move appears to be done for the sake of culture instead of trying to judge things purely on win-loss record. There have been multiple stories written and anecdotes shared about just how poisonous the Cardinals locker room has been this season. The two main stories appear to be Matheny’s isolation of Dexter Fowler and his enabling of Bud Norris to just be a general nuisance to other players (namely, Jordan Hicks) in the clubhouse. Harmony in the clubhouse isn’t a guarantee of success but it surely helps matters and when morale is in the tubes, it makes a difficult sport even more challenging.
When you combine his man management skills (or lack thereof) with what could be described as poor tactical management, it’s easy to see why the Cardinals finally decided to cut bait with Mike Matheny. Will it be enough to save their season and avoid that third consecutive playoff-less season? The start of that story will begin next weekend.
- Chase Utley made it known that he’s going to retire once this season ends. Naturally, it’s time to take an early evaluation of his career and according to Eric Stephen, he’s got what it takes to make it to Cooperstown.
- Toronto may have lost to the Red Sox last night, but they can take solace in the fact that they at least managed to deftly dupe Blake Swihart into running himelf into a double play.
- The A’s won yet again and it seems like they’re coming into their own as a formidable threat in the AL. Doesn’t it seem like they always come out of nowhere to have a good season?
- Inexplicably, the Mets are endlessly devoted to giving Jose Reyes playing time. Amazin Avenue has had enough of it.
- It’s time for your daily update on the Manny Machado Trade Sweepstakes and it appears that the Phillies are in the lead.
- Speaking of the Phillies, the Phans over at The Good Phight are daring to dream that if Machado does come to Philly, he won’t be coming alone.
- If Baltimore does decide to just clean their cupboard completely bare, Let’s Go Tribe believes that Mychal Givens would be a perfect fit for Cleveland.
- Elsewhere in the AL Central, the Tigers have made both Michael Fulmer and Nicholas Castellanos availble for trade. That’s another interesting cog in the trade deadline storyline.
- A handful of contenders have come sniffing around the Twins organization in hopes of landing Brian Dozier and other Minnesota players.