St. Louis has lost 12 of its last 18 games entering Wednesday and has again dropped to .500. While the wins aren't coming regularly for Matheny and Co., the Cardinals' manager believes it's simply a matter of time before his club finds a way to play up to its capabilities.
"I was just talking to one of the coaches, and I don't know if there's anything wrong with me, but I'm not panicked," Matheny said on Wednesday. "Maybe I'm not smart enough, I don't know. You guys tell me, 'cause I'm getting that from everybody. People on the street come up and tell me everything's going to be OK. I'm like, 'Are you kidding me?' Look at our team. We've got a good team, and a lot of good baseball to play. I appreciate the sentiment, but don't give us pity.
"We're in a spot where we're not playing the baseball we want to play, but we're about to make a bunch of people pay," Matheny continued. "Call me naïve, call me overly optimistic, say what you will ... but that's the way I feel. I could sit here and probably conjure up some panic if that would make anything better, and if I thought it would help us, I probably would try it. But I just don't believe it will."
Matheny said he's met with players, both in groups and individually, throughout the season to get a gauge on how everyone is feeling. And while he tries to set the tone for what needs to be done during those one-on-one meetings, Matheny believes there's also a chemistry within the team that drives the players.
"It really comes down to everybody understanding that we've got a lot of talent around here," Matheny said. "It's just a matter of us getting together and putting together a good run. We really haven't been on to what I believe this team can do. I can say it 'till I'm blue in the face, but I think these guys are going to buy into it."
While his club has struggled, the first-year manager has stayed even-keel and consistent in his mood and approach. He said he would expect his team to be watching him closely to see how he handles the adversity.
"I'm not gonna try and fake the fact that everything's fine, because it's not. We do have some urgency here," Matheny said. "We want to play better baseball. And I start with me, that's where it's got to start. ... What do I need to do? In general, I want to be the same guy; that's what I wanted to do as a player, that's what I want to do as a father and a husband. It really kind of defines you how you handle how things go when they're not going exactly how you want them."
"I wake up in the morning not thinking about how we just lost," Matheny said. "I truly wake up excited about how we're gonna get something going in a really nice direction soon. Call me what you will."