It was nice to see Jeff Suppan don the familiar number 37 for his second stint with the Cardinals, but like most fans I had no idea what to expect from him. He hadn’t pitched since June 4, and he hadn’t lasted longer than 4 innings since April 23 which, as it turned out, was his last start before Tuesday. Derrick Goold put up a poll at stltoday.com asking folks to offer their opinion on what Suppan would do in his start, with the overwhelming majority expecting less than 5 innings, and less than 4 earned runs.
Looks like we knew, because that’s exactly what he did. Suppan had base runners all over the place, working only one 1-2-3 inning (the third), but he escaped largely unscathed, allowing only a home run to Milton Bradley leading off the fourth. Suppan was done after 73 pitches, and left down 1-0, but he kept the Cardinals in the game, and they came back to win 4-2. For a guy that was discarded by the pitching-poor Milwaukee Brewers, that’s as good a start as could be expected. Must have been nice for Suppan to appear in a game his team won for the first time since May 9th.
On Wednesday Jason Vargas locked up with Jamie Garcia in a battle of left-handers. One kind of knew how this would go. Vargas is a soft-tossing lefty. His fastball, which he throws 63% of the time, averages 86 MPH, and he throws a change-up 25% of the time which sits about 80 MPH. The old adage is St Louis can’t hit left-handed pitching. Judging from this game, it’s still true. Vargas worked into the eighth for only the second time all season, holding the Cardinals to 5 hits and a run.
Jamie Garcia was just as good (7 IP, 5 hits and a walk), but two runs came home against him, making him the tough-luck loser.
At least the Reds lost to Los Angeles. St Louis remains in a tie for first.