Cardinals Fire Manager Mike Matheny. Who is to Blame for the Cardinals Struggles?

Photo Credit:Sean M. Haffey | Getty Images

by: Faron Peterson @FaronPJR

The St. Louis Cardinals have fired manager Mike Matheny, hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller, the team announced following Saturday nights loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Bench coach Mike Shildt will serve as interim manager. 

Was this the right move or does someone else deserve the blame?

Matheny took over as manager in 2012 and has had a pretty successful career. He took the team to the playoffs his first 4 seasons as manager while leading the team to one World Series appearance and a combined season record of 591- 474 (55.5 W-L%).

While considering Matheny's early success as team manager and how well he is liked by the players (not including Dexter Fowler), this move may come as a bit of a shocker to some fans as Matheny was under contract through the 2020 season. To the fans who have been calling for his job, this move may come as a pleasant surprise as the Cardinals have missed the postseason 2 years in a row. They currently sit at 3rd place in the NL Central with a 47-46 record, and it seems their struggles from the last 2 seasons have carried over into this season as well.

While I understand the offense has been wildly inconsistent this season, the struggles I'm referring to is mainly the bullpen and defense.  

Let us talk about the bullpen first. The Cardinals bullpen does not rank well this season, neither did it last season or the season before, which is understandable considering there have only been 1-2 guys in the pen that we could trust to throw the ball on any given night. This season it has been up to Jordan Hicks and Bud Norris to finish games out. You cannot have this problem if you expect to win a lot of games. You need to have several guys that you can trust to come in and get the job done.

Now if the bullpen issues are not bad enough, the team currently leads the entire MLB in errors, which is something we thought Jose Oquendo was supposed to magically fix after returning as 3rd base coach this season. Something that I believe is contributing to the poor infield play, is the Cardinals do not have a true shortstop or first baseman. We have a bunch of third basemen crowding up our infield. Paul DeJong is a natural third baseman playing short. Then we have Matt Carpenter playing 3rd with a bum shoulder, who can hardly throw the ball across the diamond. Then, of course, there is Jose Martinez who can't field a ball playing 1st and would make a good designated hitter in the American League.

All of this is costing the team wins.

For example, the Cardinals lost 30+ games last season when leading after the 7th inning, which points to a big bullpen problem. We just couldn't close out games. Greg Holland was supposed to fix that problem and be our shutdown closer this season, but he has been a disappointment, to say the least.

So I've just gone on and on about the issues that are costing us wins and never really mentioned Mike Matheny. So what does that say about our team and who is to blame?

The players need to play. Matheny can't step in and make the bullpen guys come in and shut down an inning, he can't make the players hit .300, or throw a perfect chest-high pitch to Jose Martinez at first base.

While I don't love or hate Matheny, I can't necessarily blame him for the teams struggles to this point. I know Mike wasn't the best manager in baseball and made some questionable coaching decisions from the outside looking in, but when you have John Mozeliak construct the roster the way it is and give out bad contracts, e.g. Dexter Fowler and Brett Cecil, in addition to the players not playing to the level that is expected of them, how much of the blame actually falls on the manager?

What do you guys think? Do you believe Matheny was to blame for the Cardinals struggles up to this point, and if so, do you think getting a new voice will help turn this season around?

1 comment:

  1. The Cardinals roster is at best an average roster, and you just can't expect to win forever. I also don't feel like 47-46 is an awful record. Cards fans tend to dislike Matheny, but they are fooling themselves if they think this will fix their problems.