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Mike Matheny’s job isn’t so safe anymore

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Saturday’s Say Hey, Baseball looks at the struggling Cardinals, the NCAA baseball tournament, and a half-naked man invading a baseball field.

Philadelphia Phillies v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

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It has not been a pleasant 2017 season for the St. Louis Cardinals. They have a disappointing 27-32 record, a number of their everyday players aren't living up to expectations, and they recently completed a disastrous, winless seven-game road trip. They did win a game against the Phillies last night, but that's almost like a teenager winning a race against a toddler who keeps getting distracted by a leaf blowing on the ground.

Things came to a head of sorts yesterday when general manager John Mozeliak called a midafternoon press conference and announced ... a few changes to the non-Mike Matheny coaching staff. Mozeliak started the presser by owning up to the team's continuing struggles while acting like he was presiding over a funeral mass, and then he announced third base coach Chris Maloney was being reassigned, Pop Warner was joining the staff, and a few other changes.

If this feels a little like shuffling deck chairs, that's because it is. Changes to the coaching staff is the last thing a team can try before just firing its manager. And Mozeliak essentially said that the future is in manager Mike Matheny's hands. He gave a four-to-six-week timeline for improvement and didn't give any assurances to Matheny that his job was safe in the future. The only vote of confidence? Mozeliak said "I want him to feel confident we trust him to do his job, but we need to do better." Yikes.

It's not like there's no hope for the Cardinals. They may be fourth in the division, but they're just 4 1/2 games out of first place. They're behind the Reds, who are supposed to be deep into their rebuild. And the Brewers are at the top of the NL Central, somehow. There are still a lot of games left to play, and that division is going to change a lot over the next three-plus months. This team may not be the best one the Cardinals have fielded in the past decade, but there's still time for them to figure it out. And time for Matheny to save his job.