Robert Suarez carrying Padres' bullpen is actually creating more problems

Robert Suarez has been lights out, but the same can't be said about everyone else.
San Diego Padres pitcherRobert Suarez
San Diego Padres pitcherRobert Suarez / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres lost a game on Tuesday night in one of the most gut-wrenching ways imaginable. After scuffling for eight innings to scratch a run across against Chicago Cubs starter Shōta Imanaga, Jurickson Profar broke through with a two-run homer.

The Friars took a 2-1 lead into the eighth and lost the game on the first at-bat of the ninth inning following a Michael Busch walk-off homer.

But one has to wonder if the story would have been different if Robert Suarez wasn't required to go 1.2 innings the night before. Suarez has been the antithesis of Josh Hader — taking the ball any time his manager calls upon him, no matter the situation.

But is that actually backfiring and hurting the Padres when they need Suarez most? Rather than turning to their closer in the ninth inning on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field with the game knotted at two runs apiece, the Padres rolled out Enyel De Los Santos and paid the price.

Robert Suarez carrying Padres' bullpen is actually creating more problems than solutions

Suarez's numbers speak for themselves. The right-hander has 12 saves in 15 appearances out of the Padres bullpen this season (including Wednesday's win). Suarez owns a sparkling 0.55 ERA and 0.70 WHIP with 15 punchouts in 16.1 innings of work. Suarez has made three appearances before the ninth inning began and four multi-innings outings this season.

However, of Suarez's 15 appearances out of the Padres bullpen this season, only three times has he come on in back-to-back games. And not one of those times was following a multi-inning appearance. Unsurprisingly, four of Suarez's five highest pitch counts have come when the 33-year-old logs more than one inning.

While it's incredibly handy to have a closer like Suarez who's reliable and almost always ready to take the ball, it does little good if you need him on back-to-back nights and are running him out onto the mound for more than one inning.

The Padres bullpen, as a whole, is not great. Even with Suarez's near flawless performance included, San Diego's relief corps still has a 4.07 ERA. If you take Suarez out of the equation, the team's ERA balloons to 4.48. Relying on Suarez to bail them out of trouble may not be a luxury that Padres manager Mike Shildt can afford for much longer.

The San Diego skipper needs better production from the other seven members of his bullpen, or this team is going to burn out its best reliever before the All-Star break.

More San Diego Padres News from Friars on Base