There are few more popular players on the Brewers’ roster than relief pitcher Brent Suter. Nicknamed “the Raptor,” he has been both an effective reliever and clubhouse cheerleader/hype man for the Brewers since his debut with the team in 2016. At one point a starter, Suter has transitioned to be a relief pitcher following Tommy John surgery in 2018. In this role, he has become one of the Brewers’ most valuable bullpen pieces. Due to his ability to throw multiple innings, he is often the first one called on out of the bullpen. As a result, he is now within reach of a MLB wins mark.
Most Wins by a Relief Pitcher
Brent Suter pitched a scoreless inning in relief of the Brewers 2-1 series clinching win in Pittsburgh on Sunday. That inning put him in line for the win. Suter is now 12-5 on the season, with all of his wins coming in relief.
Since 1990, only Tampa Bay’s Ryan Yarbrough (14 in 2018) has more wins as a reliever in a single season than @bruter24 (12). Four other relievers also have had 12 wins in a season in that span with the last being Minnesota’s Jesse Crain in 2005.
— Andrew Gruman (@AndrewGruman) August 15, 2021
The MLB record for wins by a relief pitcher is 18. This mark was set by Pittsburgh’s Roy Face, who went 18-1 with 2.70 ERA in 1959. Face pitched for 16 seasons, nearly all of his games coming in relief. He finished his career with a 104-95 record and 3.48 ERA.
A New Nickname
Brent Suter’s tendency to get wins this season in relief have earned him a new nickname: “the Vulture.” Ironically, vultures are considered raptors. A vulture win is when a relief pitcher comes in for a short time, but ends up getting the win. At first, Suter seemed to dislike the moniker, but now is coming around to it:
Brent Suter is coming around to "The Vulture" nickname a little more after notching his 12th win.
"It was probably a vulture win, there are a couple of other vulture wins. But a lot of other times it's just been the offense doing great and just a coincidence I've been pitching."
— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) August 15, 2021
Could Suter Break the Record?
As mentioned, the record for wins by a relief pitcher in a season is 18. Now with 12, Suter would need six wins in the Brewers’ final 43 games in order to tie the record. To do so, he would need to earn one win in every seven games for the remainder of the season. So far, he has averaged one win in every ten games. Anything is possible, but it is not expected for Suter to get to 18 wins. At his current pace, he is on track for 16, which would be the most in MLB since 1990.
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