Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 9/11/12
SAN DIEGO -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sat behind the desk in the visiting manager's office late Monday night attempting to answer questions about the difference between starter Jaime Garcia when he pitches at home and on the road. The problem was he didn't have an answer. Nobody does. Garcia's road struggles continued Monday in an 11-3 drubbing to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, dropping the Cardinals to 1-7 in his last eight starts away from St. Louis. The numbers for the season are staggering: a 2.63 ERA at home and a 6.19 ERA on the road. He allowed seven hits, three walks and four runs Monday before being removed from the game after just 60 pitches. "I have no idea why," offered manager Mike Matheny, cutting off a reporter before the question could even be finished. "If I did, we'd do something to fix it. There's not a good explanation for it. It's 60 feet, 60 inches. "But you can't deny that it's something he's struggling with. We try to do what we can proactively and not just sit on our hands and do nothing but there's really only so much you can do. We'll continue to work on it and try to figure it out but there's not a way to explain it." The left-hander worked out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning by getting a pair of strikeouts. But he wasn't able to escape two-out trouble in the second and third innings, giving up back-to-back run scoring hits in the second and a home run to Cameron Maybin in the third. The Cardinals committed four years and 27.5 million to Garcia last summer. But in the first year of that deal this season, he's continued an ugly trend of pitching great at home and poor on the road. Garcia has pitched an even 48 innings at home and on the road this year, but the difference in numbers is almost hard to believe. He's allowed 33 earned runs on the road compared to just 14 at home. All six home runs he's allowed have come away from Busch Stadium. The comparisons are even more eye-popping in his five starts since coming off the disabled list. He's allowed no earned runs in 15 13 innings in two home starts while giving up 14 earned runs in 14 13 innings in three road outings. And his road problems extend beyond this season. Garcia has a career 4.69 ERA on the road compared to a 2.42 ERA at home. Opponents have a slugging percentage nearly 100 points higher against him on the road and an on-base percentage nearly 60 points higher. Garcia has the largest difference in home-road ERA in all of baseball since he became a starter in 2010 and his 4.68 ERA on the road is the 5th worst in the National League since 2010 among pitchers with at least 35 road starts. Asked if the road struggles were getting in his head, Garcia offered only, "No. It was just a bad one. I'll try and get ready for the next one." The next one is supposed to be Saturday at Dodger Stadium but the Cardinals may be left with no choice but to take a second look at the rotation. The Cardinals lead the Dodgers by a game for the second wild card spot in the National League and can't afford to have the lefty continue to struggle away from Busch Stadium. Matheny was noncommittal about Garcia's status for Saturday's start, saying "we always consider it" when asked about the possibility of reworking the current schedule. Garcia's next three starts are currently slated to be on the road. "I think and believe that his stuff should play anywhere," Matheny said. "I'm not going to tell you one way or another but we're going to continue to work at it even though we can't really define it. We'll just see what happens but right now we just go on the mindset that we'll do something to fix it." Ace Chris Carpenter threw a 70-pitch simulated game Monday afternoon and could be available to make his season debut Saturday if the Cardinals wanted to make a change. He is currently scheduled to throw a final simulated game Saturday. Rookies Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal both received consideration to start Thursday in place of Jake Westbrook and could also slide into Garcia's spot. Moving Garcia out of Saturday's start would allow him to start at home against the Houston Astros next week instead. Garcia's current schedule has him making three road starts and just one home start to finish out the regular season. And based on the numbers, the Cardinals may be forced to reconsider their plans.
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