The St. Louis Cardinals have been one of the National League's constants in the 21st century. Since the turn of the millennium, the Redbirds have been in the playoffs 11 times, winning four pennants and two World Series titles.
But for the last two years, the team has missed out on October baseball. They finished above .500 a year ago, but still only finished in third place in the NL Central, nine games behind the division champion Chicago Cubs and three behind the second-place Milwaukee Brewers. They were never serious contenders for the wild card, finishing four games out of the second spot.
The two-year playoff drought, an eternity given the way the Cardinals have played over the last 17 years, has brought rumblings that manager Mike Matheny may soon be fired.
Matheny has been heavily criticized over his time with the Cards. The Cardinals section of SB Nation, Viva El Birdos, has advocated for his dismissal since as early as 2016. Amongst the various complaints about his performance are the misuse of the bullpen, rigid adherence to getting his players potentially outdated counting stats like wins and saves, the inability to use his depth effectively, and the use of incredibly small sample sizes in his decision making.
After the last two years, the embattled manager is likely on his last rope. The game seems to be passing his sensibilities by, and if the Cardinals don't make the playoffs again this year, it could be the end.
Is the team he has at his disposal good enough to keep him his job? Let's take a look to find out.