Jeff Suppan pitched the St. Louis Cardinals to another NL Central title in his last outing. Now he’s focused on matching his career high in wins as the Cards begin a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.
Suppan allowed six hits over eight-plus innings Thursday as the Cardinals beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 to clinch their fourth division title in six years.
The right-hander won his third straight decision to improve to 15-10 on the season. He had a career-high 16 wins last season, his first with the Cardinals.
“Anytime you can clinch something it’s great because we’ve been working toward that all year long,” said Suppan, who’s 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA in his last four starts. “But every game that I pitch is the most important game, whatever significance it is and regardless of what happens.”
Suppan said he’s feeling good at the right time as the playoffs approach.
“I feel pretty much like my focus is in the right place,” he said. “I’ve been working hard on that all year. It’s key to have your focus where you need it to be. Regardless of the score, or who’s up, your focus is making pitches, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Suppan will be looking to help get the Cardinals back on track after they lost for the third time in five games Sunday, 7-4 to the Cubs.
Cincinnati dropped its third straight Sunday, falling 9-7 in Pittsburgh. The Reds opened the series with an 8-2 win in the opener of a doubleheader Friday before allowing 18 runs in losing the final three games of the series.
On Sunday, Pittsburgh rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to beat the Reds.
“We scored seven runs and we still had a lot of chances,” Cincinnati interim manager Jerry Narron said. “When you get to the end of the game and have a chance to tie or go ahead, in a game like that, back and forth, that’s about all you can ask for.”
Following this series, St. Louis concludes its 10-game road trip with three contests in Milwaukee before finishing the season with a five-game homestand. The Reds, meanwhile, host the Phillies for three games before ending the year with a seven-game trip.
The Reds and Cards conclude the regular season with a three-game set in St. Louis from Sept. 30-Oct. 2.