Game 50 Thoughts: Suppan’s Last Stand?

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jeff Suppan reacts after New York Mets batter Luis Castillo hits a bases loaded two RBI single in the sixth inning of a MLB National League game in Milwaukee

Is Jeff Suppan done with the Brewers?  Was Sunday Suppan’s Last Stand?  We can only hope.

At no point this season has he resembled anything close to a major league pitcher, and while he was better in the long relief role than he was in the rotation, that wasn’t saying much.  Suppan had a 5.09 ERA in 17.2 relief innings before his abysmal outing today — 1.2 innings, 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 earned runs.

In the postgame interview shown on FS Wisconsin following the game, Ken Macha said he felt confident Suppan could get through 2 innings based on his career numbers against the guys who were due up for the Mets.  Really, it’s nice Luis Castillo was 3-for-16 in his career against Jeff Suppan.  I just wish the Brewers could find a manager who doesn’t put so much stock in a small handful of at-bats scattered among seasons in which Suppan was much more effective.

If there was an encouraging note from Macha’s post-game press conference, it’s that it seems pretty clear that he won’t be willing to use Suppan in a similar role again any time soon (although it’s good Corey Hart hit that walkoff home run in the series opener, because he said he was probably going to use Suppan in extras).

I appreciate the innings Suppan has sucked up in blowouts, but if your long reliever can’t luck into a clean inning or two when he’s forced into action due to a short bullpen, you should probably look for another long reliever.  After Manny Parra‘s short start on Saturday and Randy Wolf scuffling to get through 5 innings today, the Brewers’ bullpen is a mess (again): Coffey threw 2.1 innings on Saturday, so I wouldn’t count on him throwing a full inning if needed on Monday.  Villanueva has pitched in two straight games, so he’s out for Monday.  Same with Estrada — he only threw a handful of pitches today, but piggybacked Parra on Saturday.  Braddock threw a ton of pitches to get through the 9th inning today, so I wouldn’t count on him tomorrow, either.  Hoffman becomes even more shaky when pitching back-to-back days.

It seems pretty clear that the Brewers are going to need a fresh reliever at some point in the Florida series, and with Chris Narveson getting the start in the series opener tomorrow afternoon, they may need that arm tomorrow.  This is where they run into another problem — it won’t even be easy to add a reliever from Nashville without clearing another 40-man roster spot — Mitch Stetter is the only Nashville pitcher on the 40-man, but he can’t be called up for Monday because he was just sent down a week ago today, and rules dictate that players optioned to the minors must remain there for 10 days.

So, the Brewers are going to need a reliever, they’re going to need to clear a 40-man spot, and they have a useless pitcher on their roster right now.  The solution seems simple to me — DFA Jeff Suppan, and it doesn’t really matter who you bring up — Dillard, Loe, Smith…they could all do better than Suppan at this point.

FanGraphs Win Probability

W: R.A. Dickey (2-0)
L: Jeff Suppan (0-2)

NYM HR: Angel Pagan (4)
MIL HR: Rickie Weeks 2 (8)

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