CHICAGO -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny admitted Tuesday he has been conservative with his starting pitchers.
The day before, Matheny lifted left-hander Jaime Garcia after 7 2/3 innings -- the longest outing by a Cardinals starter this season. Matheny said while he's partly taking it easy on his starters during the early season, another reason for taking them out early is his trust in his relieving corps.
"A lot of it has to do with your confidence in your bullpen," Matheny said prior to a 3-2 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday. "We haven't been killing these guys, and they've been doing a great job. [Until] we get to that spot where they may be getting, one, tired and, two, overexposed to certain hitters, I don't see that changing."
The Cardinals bullpen once again blew a lead in Tuesday's extra-inning loss. After outfielder Matt Holliday's two-run homer gave St. Louis the lead in the top of the eighth, Cardinals left-hander Marc Rzepczynski allowed a game-tying solo home run to Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair. Adam Wainwright started the game with six one-run innings.
Matheny said he had Rzepczynski in the game because of matchups and closer Jason Motte's high pitch count from the previous day.
"Two out of three batters going up to the plate were going to be lefties," Matheny said. "Motte threw a lot of pitches yesterday. Zep is very good at getting lefties out."
Like his move Tuesday, Matheny said removing Garcia on Monday was "a pretty easy call," especially with Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney -- who already had two hits -- coming to the plate. Matheny added that, had the Cardinals' one-run lead been greater -- Garcia likely would have finished the eighth.
"The whole though process is, 'Where is he? How does his stuff look? Who is he facing and how have they looked against him? When he typically gets to this spot, how does he continue and what kind of shape is our bullpen in?'" Matheny said. "All of those questions led me to a very comfortable decision to go with [Mitchell] Boggs and right where we wanted to go after that with Motte."