PHILADLEPHIA -- Unless he is needed in emergency relief in Thursday's Game 2 or Saturday's Game 3 of the National League Division Series, right-hander and postseason veteran Jeff Suppan will start Game 4 for the Brewers on Sunday if that game is played.
Manager Dale Sveum confirmed Suppan as his pick before Game 2 on Thursday after naming Dave Bush to start Game 3 of the best-of-five series. Suppan is Milwaukee's most experienced postseason player (nine series over four seasons) but fell in Sveum's rotation after going 0-3 in September with a 8.44 ERA.
"It would have to be something pretty drastic for 'Soup' not to start on Sunday," Sveum said.
Suppan is 3-3 in nine career playoff starts with a 3.00 ERA. This is precisely the kind of situation Brewers officials envisioned for Suppan when they gave him a four-year, $42 million contract on Christmas Eve in 2006. In fact, when general manager Doug Melvin gathered his baseball staff at a Scottsdale, Ariz., restaurant that October to begin planning for the postseason, a television carried Game 7 of the 2006 NL Championship Series, Suppan's signature performance.
He limited the Mets to two hits and one run in seven innings that night, setting up St. Louis for a two-run rally in the ninth inning and a trip to the World Series. Suppan allowed one run in 15 innings of that series and was named NLCS MVP.
Sveum believes Suppan will be better with extra rest. He has not started since Sept. 26 against the Cubs. In 155 career regular-season starts when Suppan has more than the usual four days of rest, he is 55-54 with a 4.54 ERA. He is 72-68 with a 4.71 ERA in 210 career starts on regular rest.
"He's a professional," Sveum said. "If he goes out and makes his pitches, he should be fine. ... And when he gets rest, I think his cutter or breaking ball is always that much better."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.