Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays 8, Orioles 1

Sonnanstine isn't going without fight

BALTIMORE — There are a number of reasons why Andy Sonnanstine is the starter most likely to be dropped from the Rays rotation with Scott Kazmir returning.

Sonnanstine is considered the most adaptable of the starters to a relief role. He has options remaining, so he can be sent to the minors without being exposed to waivers. And he has the least impressive stuff, and resume, of the current five.

But there is one pretty impressive number representing why they can't move him anywhere: 4 — as in the team-record April wins Sonnanstine has after eight more strong innings in Wednesday's 8-1 victory over the Orioles.

"There's nothing easy right now," manager Joe Maddon said. "I don't really want to get into it too deeply. We all know what's coming up in a couple more days and we have a tough decision to make. But he's making a strong case for himself."

The Rays finished April with a team-record 15 wins, and closer to first place (one game out) and more games above .500 (three) than they've ever been at this point. They also had — in excluding the season-opening win on March 31 — their first winning April (at 14-12) in 11 seasons.

"That's nice," Maddon said. "Something to build on. Let's have the best May now."

Since a poor April 14 performance against the Yankees, when he got away from the game plan of working primarily with his mid to high 80 mph fastball, Sonnanstine has won three straight.

And he has been impressive in doing so, with a three-hit shutout of the White Sox, six-plus innings with three runs against Toronto, then Wednesday's winner, scattering six singles over eight innings while throwing 66 strikes among his 102 pitches. He got out of his one real jam, two on, one out and one run in in the third, by striking out Melvin Mora and Luke Scott.

"I'd like to say almost typical," Maddon said. "He throws it where he wants to primarily, mixes speeds up a little bit."

Whereas Jason Hammel, who, like Edwin Jackson, is out of options, admitted Tuesday that the rotation reshuffling (and potential assignment to the bullpen) was in the back of his mind, Sonnanstine (4-1, 4.42) didn't let it affect him one bit. Or for one pitch.

"I try not to think about that," he said. "It's something that's completely out of my control."

Yet he admitted he may have used it to his advantage: "When you know there's an opportunity that you possibly won't be here, maybe that helps me strive to do a little better."

The focus shifts today to Matt Garza, who has been inconsistent in three starts and missed two weeks with an injury. He also has options remaining, though it would be a bold move to demote him since he was the centerpiece of the Delmon Young trade.

Aside from an eighth-inning flareup when O's reliever Dennis Sarfate yelled at Carlos Pena for supposedly peeking at the signs, which Pena said was "totally untrue," the game was a businesslike performance by the Rays.

Eric Hinske hit a two-run homer, tying Pena for the team lead with six; B.J. Upton extended his team-leading RBI total to 21; and Carl Crawford scored his AL-leading 25th run.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Sonnanstine isn't going without fight 04/30/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 2, 2008 2:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs

    Bucs

    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  2. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  3. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  4. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.