In St. Louis Cardinal country, there is plenty of chatter about and speculation about how bad the Cardinals have been playing in recent weeks. Of course, when a team is playing sub-par, someone has to take the blame. Fans have directed criticism towards manager Mike Matheny in the recent month. The former Redbird catcher, who took over in 2012, is in his sixth season managing the Cardinals. Nevertheless, fans are calling for him to be fired due to the team's poor 29-32 record.

In most cases, the average play does deserve a closer look at the manager's role with the team. Matheny's use of the bullpen has always been under question; however, there are still three important reasons why the Cardinals will not fire their manager this season.

Matheny's Contract Extension

Last season, Matheny was extended through the 2022 season. This was a decision made by St. Louis general manager, John Mozeliak. Mozeliak was brought in as the Cardinals general manager in 2007. The predecessor to Mike Matheny, Tony La Russa, had already been the manager of the Cardinals for 16 years. La Russa retired in 2011 when the Cardinals won the World Series.

With all this being said, Matheny is Mozeliak's guy. Matheny is the first actual hire that Mozeliak had made. With the contract extension that ranges five more years nearly ensures that Mozeliak has no intention of firing Matheny.

Cardinals Can Win Division

Isn't it crazy that the Cardinals are only 2.5 games back in the National League Central?

That's right. Even with a 29-32 overall record, and a 3-7 mark in their last 10 games, the Cardinals still have a legitimate shot to win the Central.Baseball is a streaky sport. If the Cardinals can go on a run, they have a chance to get themselves back on top, and they have a perfect opportunity right now.

The Cardinals open up a four-game series against the Brewers on Tuesday. The Cardinals would need to win the series, and then go to Baltimore for a four-game series. Even if the Cardinals go 5-3, St. Louis would need to follow that with a series win or sweep against the Phillies, with whom they have swept this past weekend.

Landing close to first place could quiet some of the chirps for Matheny's head.

The Trade Deadline

The Cardinals have rarely been spenders at The Trade deadline; however, it's not the Cardinal way to miss the playoffs in back to back years. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are heavily interested in Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna is sporting a .324 batting average with 15 home runs. Ozuna is controllable through 2019 and is said to be a hard resign for the Marlins.

The pitching staff has been decent all year, so a power bat could benefit from a lineup that is low on power. The Cardinals' leading home run hitter is Matt Carpenter with 11 home runs and a .203 batting average.Who knows what it would take to give up to get Ozuna, but every little thing could help Matheny at this point.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!