Matheny costing Cards the division

The manager's poor tactics are why St. Louis may not catch Pittsburgh

Updated: August 12, 2013, 1:07 PM ET
By Paul Swydan | ESPN Insider

Mike MathenyAP Photo/Jeff RobersonCardinals manager Mike Matheny is to blame for his team's poor play in close games.

The St. Louis Cardinals have been in a bit of a free fall lately. After being ranked No. 1 in the ESPN Power Rankings for most of June and July, they dropped to fifth to begin August, and this week they find themselves ranked eighth -- which is their lowest rank since April. The Cards are in second place in the NL Central. Looking at their plus-140 run differential, their slump is a little hard to figure. Only the Tigers have a better run differential.

But just like last year, St. Louis has played poorly in close games, which is a problem the first-place Pirates have not had. At a certain point, this underperformance has to fall on manager Mike Matheny.


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