If you want to live on the edge, try to suggest to Kansas City Royals manager Mike Madden that this final week of the 2020 regular season is meaningless, except to evaluate talent over the next few years.
The Royals will try to beat the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night after a 4-1 victory in the opening game of the three-match series at Kaufman Stadium on Monday night. Matheny feels his team has a lot to play for this season.
“We have plenty of opportunities for these individuals to come in and complain. We have not seen anything,” he said Monday afternoon.
“Our conversations have been very similar from day one to tonight, it shows consistency. We have to be consistent regardless of where we are. We owe it to each other, the Royals and the legion of fans to get this game going the right way every day.”
The Cardinals (26-25) are now tied for second place in the NL Central with the Reds, which have an automatic playoff berth. They have a half game more than the Billys and a game more than the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants. The cards will provide breweries for five game series starting Thursday. With tight positions, any loss is great.
“They all count,” said St. Louis manager Mike Shield. “Wins at the end of the year are important when you fight, as well as losses. One or two balls hit their way, that’s the story of the game.”
Shield will send Austin Gomber (0-1, 2.37 ERA) to the bench on Tuesday. Comber is 1-0 up with 0.00 ERA in two appearances (one start) against the Royals. He threw a 1 2/3 inning hitless relief against the Royals on August 24 and holds 6 2/3 scoreless frames against Kansas City.
Following this series, the Cardinals return home to face the Browers, then double-header in Detroit if needed for decoration games.
“I’ve been managing with them since we came back,” Shield told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “You ‘re talking about a team that completely eliminates it in the most unprecedented situations in the history of the game. I’m not too much of a drama, hyperbole type guy.
The Royals (22-32) were all eliminated from the post-2020 season, but they still have the potential to affect the national league playoff race. Matheney Club, which has played since 2000-04 and has been managed since 2012-18, is the only opponent to sweeten any win.
But Matheny focuses on his current team and his current players, especially the youngsters.
“I have enjoyed this season, especially when you think about what many people thought would never happen,” he said of the 2020 season.
“Honestly, there are going to be some guys who get a chance to play in the major leagues this year and they won’t get a chance to come back here.”
One of the players who made his debut in 2020 was Brady Singer (3-4, 4.14). Matheny will see Singer one more time, which should lift his spirits. In Singer’s last two starts, he has driven eight and six scoreless innings, allowing one and two wins in Cleveland and Detroit, respectively.
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