MILWAUKEE -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny nearly emptied his bench onto his lineup card on Sunday, as he presented Brewers starter Randy Wolf with the task of facing a lineup unlike the one Matheny employed during the first two games of this series.
Tyler Greene (2B), Matt Carpenter (1B), Tony Cruz (C) and Shane Robinson (CF) all earned their first starts of 2012. Neither Cruz nor Greene had the opportunity to even take an at-bat during the team's first three games.
"We have to get some of these guys in," Matheny said. "They had such good springs that if we just keep running eight out there, they're going to go stale."
A variety of factors went into Matheny's lineup decisions on Sunday.
Lance Berkman's career numbers against Brewers starter Randy Wolf made this an ideal day to give the first baseman a break. In 32 career at-bats against Wolf, Berkman has collected only three hits. That created an opportunity for Matheny to give Carpenter his first career start at first base.
Greene was the natural choice to start at second with a lefty starting. The Cardinals faced right-handed starters in their first three games. The right-handed-hitting Robinson was in the lineup for similar matchup reasons.
"I feel like I've kept myself prepared and ready," said Greene, whose last game at-bat came during an April 2 exhibition game. "I think it's not too much of a challenge right now, because you're coming off Spring Training. You're still somewhat fresh off playing a lot. We'll start up the game and see that first pitch and see where we're at."
By sitting on Sunday, catcher Yadier Molina is in position to be ready to start the final three games of this road trip. Had Molina played on Sunday, Matheny projected that he likely would have needed to give Molina the day off on Wednesday. With Jaime Garcia scheduled to start for St. Louis that day, Matheny preferred to have Molina behind the plate as Garcia's battery mate.