Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Suppan Makes Cardinals Debut

After being signed by the Cardinals this week, Jeff Suppan made his first start as a Cardinal on Tuesday.

Here was Suppan's line against the light hitting Seattle Mariners:

73 Pitches (46 Strikes)
4.0 Innings Pitched
4 Hits
1 Run (Earned)
2 Walks
4 Strikeouts
1 Home Run

Take this with a grain of salt considering the Mariners' lineup is exactly the '27 Yankees. After Tuesday, they are averaging just 3.48 runs per game and rank near the bottom in every offensive category in the league.

The Cardinals pulled Suppan after four and went onto win 4-2. So what does this actually mean?

If anything, this is a good sign for the Brewers. If Suppan is in the rotation for an extended period of time, the better chance the Brewers can gain some ground on the Cardinals. Jeff Suppan is not a good pitcher. He doesn't belong on a major league roster.

Of course, the Cardinals were in need of another starter. Kyle Lohse just underwent surgery on a forearm injury and will miss an extended period of time. The Cardinals don't really have much starting pitching depth, so it is likely Suppan will be given the ball every fifth day for the time being. That is good news for every team in the NL Central.

Releasing Suppan couldn't have worked on any better for the Brewers. I laughed last week when Doug Melvin predicted Suppan would catch on somewhere in some teams rotation. What could've been better for the Brewers than him in St. Louis? Not only did they rid themselves of an awful pitcher, but he was picked up by a divisional rival the Brewers will need to catch.

Since 2008, Suppan's WAR stands at -1.0. Those numbers are unheard of. His FIPs (fielding independent pitching on an ERA scale) were 5.51, 5.70 and 4.89. I know, I know, Dave Duncan is amazing pitching coach, right? Maybe so, but there is no way, and I mean no way he can turn Suppan into a decent arm. There are just too many things working against him. Suppan might not have been worth $42 million when he left St. Louis, but he still had much better control, velocity and movement than the current state he is in.

One name to keep an eye on in the Cardinals organization if Suppan struggles is P.J. Walters. He has pretty good numbers thus far in AAA and should easily outproduce whatever Suppan brings to the table.

Mark your calendar for July 2nd. If the pitching matchups stay on schedule, Suppan will face the Brewers in St. Louis on that day. It should make for one entertaining day of baseball either way.

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