Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Suppan Shines, Not Ex-Mates; Pujols, Rasmus and Ryan Have Struggled Mightily in Early Stages of Season; MLB INSIDER; BASEBALL INSIDERS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Suppan Shines, Not Ex-Mates; Pujols, Rasmus and Ryan Have Struggled Mightily in Early Stages of Season; MLB INSIDER; BASEBALL INSIDERS

Article excerpt

HOUSTON - When Jeff Suppan pitched six scoreless innings for the Cardinals in a 6-1 victory over Colorado on the last day of the 2010 season, three of the position players behind them in that game were Albert Pujols, Colby Rasmus and Brendan Ryan.

That victory was the 138th and, largely presumed to be the last, of Suppan's major-league career.

But he startlingly re-emerged from a season-and-change of minor- league baseball to pitch five scoreless innings for San Diego to beat Milwaukee a few days ago after spending the entire 2011 season at Omaha, the Kansas City Royals' affiliate.

While this was a feel-good story for Suppan, 37, and his many fans, the three aforementioned teammates from that fall afternoon in 2010 aren't feeling all that hot.

Much has been written and opined about the dreadful start by Pujols this season, his first with the Angels. Pujols, who had raised his average to .296 a couple weeks ago, is five for his last 55 and after not playing Saturday is hitting .194 with no homers in his 108 at-bats. He went about that long (105 at-bats) without hitting a homer for the Cardinals last season, from April 23-May 23, but he also batted .282 in that span.

One of the differences is that Pujols hasn't been walking. In his 27 games, he walked only four times unintentionally. And in his recent five-for-55 slide, he walked just twice.

Even last year, when was homerless for more than 100 at-bats, a more patient Pujols walked 11 times unintentionally.

While he languished near the benchmark "Mendoza Line," Rasmus is hitting only .208 as the No. 8 hitter for Toronto.

And Ryan 1s well under the .200 line named for former Pittsburgh, Texas and Seattle shortstop Mario Mendoza, who actually averaged .215 in his career.

Ryan, the Seattle shortstop now, was benched after going nothing for his last 26, dropping to .125. He was back in the lineup Friday and had two hits, but then was 0 for two Saturday and is hitting only . …

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