The Cardinals are on pace to miss the playoffs for three straight seasons for the first time since 1997-99.

By Jenna West
July 14, 2018

The St. Louis Cardinals have fired manager Mike Matheny, the team announced in a statement on Saturday. Bench coach Mike Shildt has been named interim manager.

"These decisions are never easy, but we felt that a change in leadership was necessary as the team prepares to enter the second half of the season," St. Louis President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak wrote in the statement.

The Cardinals also fired hitting coach John Mabry and assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller.

Matheny was hired by the Cardinals in November 2011, and he compiled a 591-473 win-loss record during his six-and-a-half years with the team. They went to the playoffs four times in his tenure and won the National League pennant in 2013.

But this year's Cardinals team has endured quite a bit of turbulence. Mozeliak questioned the effort level of struggling outfielder Dexter Fowler in a podcast earlier this month. Reports then swirled that Matheny and Fowler "barely talk," while Mozeliak tried to backtrack and say his comments were directed solely at his outfielder. 

More recently, Mark Saxon of The Athletic also reported that St. Louis closer Bud Norris has been "mercilessly riding" young righthander Jordan Hicks, publicly calling out Hicks for various transgressions like tardiness. Matheny's quotes in the story seemingly endorsed Norris's activity, saying baseball has "progressively gotten a little softer."

“I get regular updates,” Matheny told Saxon. “But that’s good. I invited him into that. We need leadership with each sub-culture of the team, including the bullpen, and he’s keeping an eye. He’s a stickler for what we established early on.”

The Cardinals have slogged through most of this season, sporting a 47-46 record while sitting in third place in the NL Central. The team is on pace to miss the playoffs for three straight seasons for the first time since 1997-99.

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