The St. Louis Cardinals are struggling at the plate. The defending National League champions rank 29th in baseball in runs scored this season and have scored three or fewer runs in nine of their last 16 games. The Cards are also hitting just .243 with runners in scoring position this year, a full 87 points lower than their remarkable 2013 average.
Mike Matheny is well aware of the stats and struggles. He also realizes his team is just two games out of first and is very much in the playoff hunt, so the Cardinals manager is growing tired of hearing negative feedback.
“You’re putting as much work if not more now than what you did last year when things were going so well,” Matheny said earlier this week, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “You’ve got people taking cheap shots all the time. You’re human. You wear that. Plus you know that the (players) are not happy with where the guys are right now.
“If you have coaches who don’t care, then they’re just putting in their time and chalking it up to a number of issues. That’s not what we have.”
The Cardinals have been shut out 11 times this season, but they are still pitching fairly well (12th in the majors with a 3.59 team ERA). While it might be time to make some adjustments, Matheny certainly doesn’t feel that his team needs to panic.
“I don’t care what anybody else thinks about the statement I’m about to make but our best offense is ahead of us,” Matheny said. “I’m 100 percent convinced of that. … We can’t do our job in defense of criticism. It’s never going to work out. Just keep doing the job and in the end it will come out in the wash.”
The Cardinals will be just fine. Their manager knows how to wear one on the chin. No, really, he does.