Now, listen. I know how you all feel about Jeff Suppan. And trust me, I feel your pain.
The last game I attended in 2008 — the year I moved to this badger den overlooking Miller Park and threw all-in with this team — was the game that he started, instead of Yovani Gallardo on short rest or Manny Parra, gave up a lead-off homer to J-Roll and later a pivotal homer to Pat Burrell. It was the game the Brewers were eliminated from the 2008 playoffs.
The first game I attended in 2009 was the Sunday Night Baseball game of opening weekend against the Cubs. In which he gave up a lead-off homer to Alfonso Soriano. Like salt in still-fresh wounds.
Not to mention any number of big innings for opposing teams, quality play by the offense and bullpen squandered because they started with a huge deficit. He’s not exactly the Old Milwaukee, but he’s getting up there in age and he’s never had a power arm or electric stuff. I’ve often wondered myself about whether it would be better for our beloved Brewers to just eat his contract, which pays him $12.5 million this year, just to not have him on the hill.
We all know what we’ve got here. Suppan — “Soup” — is the baseball equivalent of the culinary basis for his nickname. This is what is going to be thrown out there every fifth day, from the scraps of the week before. But here’s the thing, if the other ingredients are good, then Soup, “Soup,” even Jeff Suppan can be not so bad at all. Like yesterday, when the Brewers’ meat and potatoes were good enough to cook up a win against the Cubs.
When listening to the game, I’ll admit I didn’t want him to go out for the fifth inning. Particularly because Gregg Zaun was on second with two outs when Soup came up to bat in the top of the frame.
“You’re letting him hit for himself?! Take him out! It’s tied, 4-4. Even money!”
When Zaun moved to third on a wild pitch, it made the move even more senseless to me. Suppan grounded out to end the inning, but then took down the top of the Cubs order 1-2-3 in the fifth. The Crew got a slim lead in the sixth, and started trotting out the relievers. Hey, it worked out.
So shut up about Suppan, for once. But it’s not our call, and frankly, I’m sick of hearing about it. We’ve all heard it before. As Uecker said in one of his broadcasts from the first series of the year:
“All right, settle down, folks. We’re all in this together.”
It’s not our call to cut Suppan, or to sit him down. Let’s give him a couple of starts before conversation turns to whether that’s what Melvin and Macha should do.
I know he’s on a short leash this year. But when he makes his next start, especially if it’s against the Cubs again next week at Miller Park, let’s show a little class. Please don’t boo — unless he gets yanked before the four inning.
Let’s follow the lead of this column — “Brewers take the win, don’t ask questions” — and just be happy the Crew is getting the hell out of Chicago without a sweep.