Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Praise Matheny's Work

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Praise Matheny's Work

Article excerpt

ATLANTA * Dating back to his first day on the job when all he heard about was the players or people his team would be missing from three-time MVP Albert Pujols to the man Matheny replaced, Tony La Russa Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has made it a point to never let his staff or his clubhouse turn an absence into an excuse.

That was the message this season as injuries depleted the roster.

"I think that's an insult," Matheny said Sunday, the final day of the regular season. "I think that's an insult to who we have and it's an insult to who we bring in. It's been pretty consistent (for us) as we've lost some pretty good pieces from day one. We've focused on what we've got and what we can do today."

Matheny's stance, several members of the club said Sunday, steered the club through long stretches without Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright and other fixtures to a 100-62 season and a division title in a National League Central that also featured two other teams with at least 97 wins. It should, general manager John Mozeliak added, net Matheny strong consideration for the manager of the year award though the club isn't convinced he'll win it because coming into the season the Cardinals were expected to win and did.

Meeting expectations, regardless of the route, rarely wins.

"When you think about the success the St. Louis Cardinals have had under Mike's leadership it's hard to imagine that really anybody has done better," Mozeliak said. "But yet it is a year-to-year award. And I think part of Mike's issue is that people expect the Cardinals to be good. Therefore, there's already that given proxy that we're going to win. Instead of people looking at the season as a whole, he's just being discredited because people thought were going to do well. It's not my job to sit here and advocate for Mike as manager of the year because I don't have a vote, but I do think people should realize that he should absolutely be a part of every conversation.

"You don't win 100 games by luck, right?"

The manager of the year is one of the four major awards in each league voted on members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Rookie of the year, Cy Young and MVP are the other three. …

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