ST. LOUIS -- High on the list of Mike Matheny's assets as a manager is always having his players' backs. He is widely regarded as a player's manager and his players know he will protect them.
What, exactly, this means is a little beyond me. It's not like I've seen Matheny serving as a bodyguard for the Cardinals. But I did come across a telling example this week of the difference in managerial protection styles.
After the Cardinals beat the Astros on Wednesday night, Houston manager Bo Porter minced no words when explaining what happened when one of his young players, J.D. Martinez, was thrown out at home on a failed safety squeeze. The unnecessary out took the Astros out of a potential big inning in a game they lost by one run.
"That was a poor read on J.D.'s part," Porter said bluntly. "We discussed it in the dugout. He understands it was a poor read."
Porter was correct and, by pointing out Martinez's mistake, might have been giving his team a lesson in being held accountab...