Jeff Suppan demoted from rotation to bullpen

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suppan staring.jpgThe Brewers pulled a card out of the Cubs’ playbook on Sunday and demoted high-priced starter Jeff Suppan to the bullpen, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Anthony Witrado.  The Cubs, of course, did the same thing last week with Carlos Zambrano.

Suppan posted a depressing 8.68 ERA and 2.04 WHIP in his first two starts of the season — both against the division rival Cubs — and manager Ken Macha decided this weekend that he’d seen enough.  The 35-year-old right-hander is earning $12.75 million this season, his last guaranteed year in Milwaukee.  He was awful this spring and probably shouldn’t have landed a spot in the rotation out of camp, but Brewers GM Doug Melvin isn’t worried about the stigma that goes with paying so much to a middle reliever.

“The investment part of it, I think people make too much of
that,” Melvin said. “People say he’s making more money so he gets more
of a chance. I think you give him a chance because the guy’s started 30
games 11 years in a row. That’s what you give the chance to. It’s got
nothing to do with the money.”

Left-hander Chris Narveson was promoted to the rotation in Suppan’s place.  We’ll see how he fares Wednesday against the Pirates.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).