Rain means Suppan has one shot
Veteran not expected to get a second start in World Series
ST. LOUIS -- In Detroit, Jeff Suppan talked about the weather."The weather is obviously a part of the game," Suppan said on Sunday. "Some days it's hot and humid, other days it's really cold. It is what it is. When it's your day to pitch, you just go out and there and pitch." Wednesday was Suppan's day to pitch in St. Louis, but he never made it out to the bullpen to even start warming up. Instead, Game 4 of the World Series was postponed by rain and has been rescheduled for Thursday. That, too, is in doubt, because of a forecast that calls for more rain for the St. Louis area. But if there are no more rainouts, Suppan will make just one start in the World Series. A normal schedule had the Cardinals considering the possibility of Suppan pitching Game 4 and then Game 7 on three days' rest. But that idea is no longer in play, unless there are further postponements later in the Series. "He goes tomorrow," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "That's what we're worried about, tomorrow's game, so that's what we'll deal with." Suppan spent the rain delay in the clubhouse trying to stay relaxed and focused, even as he was told a couple of different starting times. He did some stretching to get loose and drank plenty of liquids to stay hydrated. No word if Suppan was involved in any of the football games that other teammates got going to pass the time. He was one of the last to leave the clubhouse. After his other teammates had showered and bundled up to face the bad weather, Suppan was back behind closed doors watching video. He sent word that he wasn't interested in talking any more to reporters, but manager Tony La Russa wasn't thrilled that Suppan's start has been postponed. "What it allows us to do is to play tomorrow with Supp getting an extra day's rest that he didn't need," La Russa said in his office afterward. "That's as far as we're going to go with it."
If Suppan makes it to the mound on Thursday, he'll be doing so on six days' rest, two more than his normal routine calls for during the regular season. He made five starts during the regular season on six-plus days of rest and was 1-1 with a 3.19 ERA. Opponents also hit .301 off him in those starts, as opposed to .277 overall during the regular season."You know, I'll be honest with you, I think you lose track of days during this time of year," Suppan said on Monday during a press conference. "And I don't know throwing with an extra day or short rest, I don't know if that really matters. I think you just go out and pitch when they tell you to pitch." Suppan has been through this before. In 2004, when he was the Cardinals' fourth starter, he had to wait 11 days between his final start of the regular season and his first start in the playoffs. But Suppan pitched pretty well when he finally took the mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Division Series. Suppan allowed two runs in seven innings and the Cardinals clinched the Series with a 6-2 victory. He even had two hits in the game as a batter. "I was going through that time where I had 11 days off," Suppan said. "I never thought, 'This is nine days off, this is 10 days off.' I was just preparing for when I was going to get my start." The rain has caused another delay related to Suppan. He taped a political ad for the upcoming Missouri state elections that was supposed to run on television during his start. That will also have to wait, although the Cardinals don't mind Suppan getting involved in politics. "Our policy is you recognize each person has the professional side and the personal side, and you respect both sides of them," La Russa said. "Actually, our organization encourages guys to get involved in something just beyond baseball. Whether you agree with the choice or whatever, I like the fact that guys make a commitment and they get involved." Right now, though, La Russa just wants to see Suppan pitch.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.