Suppan will try to put together another strong start and give the Brewers a series win over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium for the first time since 2005 as they wrap up their three-game set on Sunday.
Since joining the Brewers (7-4) before the start of last season, April has easily been Suppan’s best month. In eight starts, the right-hander is 5-2 with a 2.44 ERA. He’s just 6-7 with a 5.15 ERA after that.
Suppan (1-0, 2.03 ERA) continued his trend of strong opening-month outings on Tuesday against Cincinnati, giving up a run and six hits in seven innings. The Brewers, though, needed a run-scoring single from Rickie Weeks in the 10th to walk away with a 3-2 win after new closer Eric Gagne gave up a game-tying homer to Corey Patterson with two strikes and two outs in the ninth.
“We won, that is the most important thing,” Suppan said. “That’s our favorite letter of the alphabet, the W, any way you can get it.”
In eight career starts against the Mets, Suppan is 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA. His only victory in four starts at Shea came in June 1997 when he was with Boston.
New York’s Oliver Perez (1-0, 0.00), meanwhile, has yet to give up a run or an extra-base hit in 11 2-3 innings this season. Pitching in Shea’s final regular-season opener on Tuesday, he surrendered three hits, hit two batters, walked three and struck out two in 5 2-3 innings, but didn’t factor in a 5-2 loss to Philadelphia.
Unlike Suppan, Perez has not fared well in April. In 26 career starts, the left-hander is 8-11 with a 5.33 ERA - his highest in any month.
Perez is coming off a career-high 15 wins in 2007, including two against the Brewers to improve to 3-1 with a 4.32 ERA in seven career starts. Pitching at Shea on May 13, Perez came within two outs of a complete game, allowing a run and two hits in a 9-1 victory.
After tossing a five-hitter last Sunday against San Francisco for his second career complete game, Sheets retired 18 straight Mets at one point. He gave up three runs, walked two and struck out five to help the Brewers snap a season-high three-game slide.
Santana, who allowed an AL-high 33 homers last year, has given up four in his first three NL starts—three Saturday. The Mets staked Santana to a 2-1 lead, but Bill Hall and Weeks had solo drives and Gabe Kapler - a manager in the Red Sox’s minor league system last year - added a two-run shot in the seventh for his third homer.
That matched Kapler’s total in 108 games with Boston in 2005-06.
“I felt good,” Santana said. “We were trying to establish my fastball early in the game. We made a couple of pitches that didn’t do what they were supposed to do.”
New York may be without shortstop Jose Reyes, who’s day-to-day after undergoing an MRI on his injured hamstring on Saturday. Reyes, who batted .280 with a major league-high 78 stolen bases last year, is hitting .205 with one steal in 2008.