Milwaukee Brewers' Jeff Suppan Proves Me Wrong
A little less than a week ago, I wrote how Jeff Suppan was not the one to blame for the Brewers’ Opening Day loss to the San Francisco Giants.
I said I needed to see more than just one start from Suppan before passing judgment on him for the 2009 season. After last night's performance against the Chicago Cubs, I've seen enough.
Suppan not only had an awful outing against the Cubs, he showed me I should have joined everyone else last week in bashing him. Suppan lasted just 3 2/3 innings against the Cubs and allowed five earned runs.
That, of course, wasn't the icing on the cake. That came in the form of six walks, including three with the bases loaded. Don't worry, I didn't forget about the first-pitch home run allowed to Alfonso Soriano.
I'd say that's about as bad as it could get for one night's worth of work. Suppan looked lost on the mound, and it appeared he had no interest in throwing strikes to the Cubs' hitters. That kind of performance just won't get it done for the Brewers this year.
Unfortunately, there isn't an easy solution when it comes to the Suppan problem. The money in baseball contracts is guaranteed, and Suppan is due $25 million over the next two years.
The Brewers simply can't afford to release him and get nothing in return on their investment. It's bad business for a mid-market team.
Another option could see the Brewers move Suppan into a bullpen role, and put Seth McClung into the rotation. McClung has done nothing this year to warrant that promotion and appears just as reluctant to throw strikes as Suppan does.
Pedro Martinez's name has also popped up since he is a free agent. As fun as it would be to watch Pedro in Milwaukee uniform, the team does not have that kind of room for extra payroll right now, especially since Pedro is up there in age and not a sure thing.
Sadly for Brewer fans the only real option is to leave Suppan in the rotation and hope he can turn all of this around. We all know Suppan is a second-half pitcher, but he can't wait until July or August to start producing results.
The Brewers need all five of their starters to be solid. They can't afford a weak link that uses up all the arms in the bullpen every five days.
Suppan needs to step up and be the veteran starter Brewers fans expect. No one is asking him for complete game shutouts or double-digit strikeout games.
Fans just want a pitcher to pitch five or six innings that will give the Brewers a chance to win the game, not wildly throw away all our hopes of a second straight playoff appearance.
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