ST. LOUIS - Mike Matheny hasnt had much time to sit and reflect on his recently completed first season as a big league manager. But the Cardinals skipper plans to do that soon, hopefully in a deer stand somewhere within Americas wilderness.
By that point, Matheny will hopefully be able to find the positives from a season that finished in heartbreak and disappointment. The first year manager looked the part at times, but overcame an unfair amount of injuries and expectations to lead the Cardinals within one game of a trip to the World Series.
The odds were against Matheny from the start. Taking over a team that just won their 11th World Series Championship less than a month earlier, he also had to replace a future Hall of Fame manager in Tony La Russa and do it without Albert Pujols, a St. Louis staple since his arrival to the big leagues in 2001.
It looked rough at times, including a 15-24 stretch in May and June that took the Cardinals from 3.5 games up in the Central Division ...