peter gammons reads this blog. . . . i guess. same day i post my li'l round of applause for the brewers, pete's up with same at espn.com. since peter is a master of the obvious, i prob'ly shouldn't be feeling too good about this . . .
the poop on soup: the good jeff suppan was in attendance last night, picking up his 4th win and offering at least some reassurance that the bad suppan we've seen the last two outings isn't taking over permanently. it was his fifth "quality start" (ie, at least 6 ip, no more than 3 runs) of the year, to go with five less-than-quality outings. some of his troubles in the latter can be chalked up to bad defense, others to the philadelphia phillies (who mugged him twice); makes it hard to get a read on the guy. you look at his line and nothing really jumps out at you; k/ww numbers are about where they should be, groundout-to-flyout ratio is good. he has yielded more than three earned runs only twice in ten starts; as recently as three starts ago he was sitting at 3-3 with a 3.53 era, and noone was wondering what is going on with soup.
but maybe we should be. even counting last night's fine performance, the league is hitting .332 against suppan this year (vs .265 last year) and slugging .519, on the strength of 8 hr in 58 innings. they're murdering the guy, in other words. which makes la russa's decision to let him face vinny castilla with the bases loaded in the 6th inning last night all the more . . . . interesting. i would say "baffling" or "unforgivable," but then i thought of a post at the birdwatch earlier this month, which cogently parsed a similarly counterintuitive decision -- viz., letting kevin jarvis pitch to hee seop choi with runners on and the cards clinging to a slim lead. choi homered, the cards lost -- and the very same might have happened here. suppan had given up four straight baserunners and had thrown 26 pitches in the inning. the pen was very well rested: tony could have used reyes or thompson against castilla, then flores or king to pitch to brian schnieder . . . . but per the birdwatch post, it may be that la russa was willing to risk this game to find out if suppan could rise to the challenge. soup did, and then came back out for an uneventful 7th. remember the at-bat as suppan's up-down year continues.