The St. Louis Cardinals continue to manage their starting pitchers as aggressively as anyone ever has, but through six innings it’s worked out—Jaime Garcia’s out of the game after four and change (and one earned run), but the Cardinals lead the Milwaukee Brewers by a score of 4-1.
Garcia was excellent, for the most part, striking out five batters and walking none, but when Jonathan Lucroy, Corey Hart, and Jerry Hairston reached base Tony La Russa pulled Garcia at just 68 pitches, bringing in right-handed specialist Octavio Dotel to strike out Ryan Braun and end the threat. Dotel retired Prince Fielder to start the sixth inning and retired the side in order to get the Cardinals through six.
Someday a Cardinals starter will pitch more than six innings, and it will be a beautiful moment. Hopefully it isn’t in 2012. Hopefully it isn’t Jeff Suppan. But tonight the Cardinals’ bullpen will sustain another game’s worth of heavy use—they’ll definitely be able to use the off-day tomorrow.