"You can't be oblivious and say that you don't notice it at all, but I truly [don't] try to," Matheny said. "In here, we can control what we do. We have to play better. That's all there is to it. These guys know that. It's not a secret. And it's not a secret what the other teams are doing either."
The Cardinals will try to do just that on Sunday against the Brewers at Busch Stadium, as the team goes for a three-game sweep against its division rival.
Right-hander Kyle Lohse, the Cardinals most consistent starter this season, will look to seal the sweep after his 11th win of the season last Tuesday against the Rockies. Lohse allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings of work, but pitched better than such numbers would indicate after the Cardinals made two errors.
While the Brewers may be even further from the top of the NL Central, trailing the Reds by 17 1/2 games in the standings, the team understands how big divisional games are at this point in the season.
"I've always said there's no reason to stop being optimistic or to stop being positive," Ryan Braun said. "At the same time, we're realistic that we haven't played good enough baseball to deserve to be anywhere higher in the standings than where we're at.
"But at the same time, there's two months left. A lot of crazy things have happened over the course of this game. You show up every day, you continue to compete. You never know what's gonna happen and you continue to try and stay positive."
Milwaukee will try and get out of its most recent slump, losing 11 of its last 15 games, when Marco Estrada takes the hill on Sunday.
The right-hander had his best start of the season on Monday against the Astros, tossing seven innings and allowing just two earned runs on six hits for the no-decision.
Brewers: Braun closing in on 20-20 season
Braun needs just one more stolen base to secure the ninth 20-20 season in Brewers franchise history and the third of his career.
While Braun is trying not to think about the possible achievement too much, he can certainly appreciate it.
"With two months left, I hope I can," Braun said. "But during the year I rarely take time to step back and reflect on those things. But whenever you've done something that has been done before in the history of an organization, it's pretty special."
Braun has 29 homers on the season, one away from recording his fifth career 30-homer season.
Cardinals: 1982 World Series team honored
Members of the Cardinals' 1982 World Championship team were celebrated before Saturday's game, when they gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the "Whiteyball" team that took down Milwaukee's "Wallbangers."
"Thirty years, huh?" said Ozzie Smith, who was a fifth-year Cardinal shortstop in '82. "It doesn't seem like 30 years."
Saturday's ceremony began with vehicles ushering former players and coaches in and around Busch Stadium toward home plate, where the 1982 Commissioner's Trophy had been set up on display.
Hall-of-Fame manager Whitey Herzog was the first to be introduced in front of a sellout crowd. Smith was the last, and he was greeted with the loudest cheers. As a part of Saturday's celebration, the Cardinals and Brewers donned replica jerseys from 1982 for the game. St. Louis will wear another style of their '82 uniforms on Sunday.
Aramis Ramirez was out of the Brewers' starting lineup for the second straight game on Saturday, after receiving a cortisone injection on Thursday for a sore left wrist.
Sunday's series finale was moved back to a 7:05 p.m. CT start time to accommodate ESPN's national broadcast. It marks the fourth time the Cardinals have been a part of the network's marquee Sunday night game this year.