Matheny costing Cards the division

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is to blame for his team's poor play in close games. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

The St. Louis Cardinals have been in a bit of a free fall lately. After being ranked No. 1 in the ESPN Power Rankings for most of June and July, they dropped to fifth to begin August, and this week they find themselves ranked eighth -- which is their lowest rank since April. The Cards are in second place in the NL Central. Looking at their plus-140 run differential, their slump is a little hard to figure. Only the Tigers have a better run differential.

But just like last year, St. Louis has played poorly in close games, which is a problem the first-place Pirates have not had. At a certain point, this underperformance has to fall on manager Mike Matheny.