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NL Notes: Matheny feeling pressure in St. Louis

A look at Mike Matheny’s job security, the surprising Diamondbacks and more from the National League.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Just a year or two ago, Mike Matheny’s job seemed about as secure as any manager’s in the game.

Now, more than a third of the way through the regular season, the Cardinals’ skipper may be on the hot seat, as his team fades from contention.

Matheny’s club came into Sunday’s game at 28-32, good for fourth in the NL Central. Only the dismal Pittsburgh Pirates are keeping the Cardinals from last place in the division. St. Louis hasn’t finished last in their division since 1990.

St. Louis has a solid lineup that was only aided by the acquisition of Dexter Fowler. However, their starting rotation isn’t what it used to be, as an aging Adam Wainwright even occasionally struggles on the hill. Matheny has to keep his team’s head up and make sure they continue to compete, because let’s be honest, his job might not be safe anymore.

Here’s what else is happening around the National League:

Brandon Morrow has been optioned to Triple-A by the Dodgers to make room for Alex Wood, but not before showing encouraging signs that the veteran pitcher can still make an impact at the major league level.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Morrow threw six scoreless innings with L.A. over five appearances, providing the Dodgers with valuable relief pitching as they remain in a dogfight with the upstart Rockies and Diamondbacks. As the summer nears, it’s nice for the Dodgers to know that solid bullpen options are available, even if they have to dip down to Oklahoma City to get it.

College football rivals Kennesaw State and Jacksonville State will face off in a different type of stadium in 2018. The two will do battle at SunTrust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves. The Braves will join the growing list of teams that have hosted football games at one point or another. Kennesaw State sits just over 20 miles from the Braves’ new digs.

You know Diamondbacks fever is real when their torrid play effects the mentality of a leading U.S. Senate intelligence committee member. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) asked several questions during former FBI director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday, but some of his questions were quite weirdly worded, to the point where it seemed obvious McCain might not have gotten such a great night of sleep. McCain discloses the full details in the linked article.

Cincinnati’s Scooter Gennett is forever a part of baseball lore, after he became the 17th player EVER to launch four home runs in one game. Gennett mashed four dingers to total ten RBI, making his output one of the greatest offensive performances the game has ever seen.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

What makes Gennett’s performance so unique is that the other players who have hit four are, for the most part, bona fide sluggers. Gennett was relatively unknown until Tuesday, which makes it all that more special.