Note: I am currently working on a series of post entitled “How They Fared.” Each post will highlight a former Kent State baseball players and how they fared -- catchy name huh? -- throughout their major or minor league seasons. I would like to get the input of Kent State coach Scott Stricklin, but I haven’t gotten that far with it yet. If anyone has fun stories about some of those players or just interesting factoids let me know at email@example.com and I will make sure to include them in the series. Thanks in advance!
Former Kent State pitcher Andy Sonnanstine didn’t exactly throw as well as he would have liked Sunday night in Game four of the World Series.
In the loss, Sonnanstine tied a career high in walks per game with three. He lasted only four innings. The wildness definitely wasn’t a prototypical Sonnanstine game.
He typically has such good control that he rarely walks anyone. In his two-year major League career with the Rays, Sonnanstine has walked 63 batters in 324 innings. He has struck out 221 during that period.
While he will never be an overpowering arm, he has plenty of opportunity to be a crafty pitcher in the form of Greg Maddux or Jamie Moyer.
It is unfortunate that the World couldn’t see how well Sonnanstine has truly pitched. Although I will agree the umpires didn’t help much with the admitted blown call in the first inning.
While I am on the topic, please excuse my rant…
Joe Buck and Tim McCarver repeatedly said Sonnanstine made a poor decision by coming home instead of getting the double play ball to end the inning. How is it a bad decision?
Jimmy Rollins was caught dead halfway down the base line and was, as replayed showed, clearly out. Major League baseball is now admitting this.
The ball was hit directly back to Sonnanstine. Anyone who has ever pitched would know fielding a ball hit directly back to the pitcher can be one of the hardest balls to turn a double play on.
The pitcher is typically disoriented for a second after fielding the ball hit right back at them. It’s all reflexes. They then have to turn, set their feet and throw a strike to second, which is always a tough throw because of footing throwing back up the mound or just having too much time to think.
On this particular situation the infield, with the exception of Evan Longoria at third, was pulled to the right side of second base for the left-handed hitter Ryan Howard.
So for that double play to work, Sonnanstine would have to throw to shortstop Jason Bartlett, who is now coming from the right side of the bag, instead of the left. He is not used to turning a double play from that side.
Although Howard was running to first, who isn’t fleet of foot, I still thinking going after Rollins was warranted.
It should have been Chase Utley at second and Ryan Howard on first with two outs and no runs scored.
Instead, Rollins was wrongly called safe and Sonnanstine was more rattled than he already was with the bases now loaded. He walked Pat "the Bat" Burrell next to plate Rollins and gave the Phillies the 1-0 lead. The blown call altered the path of that game.
I don’t know how much more of Buck and McCarver I can take. They have given absolutely atrocious commentary the entire series and this is just one example.
How about last night when Buck said this:
If I am (Tampa Bay Ray manager) Joe Maddon then I seriously consider talking to the umpires about the weather conditions and suspending this game.
Hey genius, it was the sixth inning. If Maddon gets the game suspended in the sixth it is an official game and the Phillies win the World Series. No one knew at that time that Commissioner Bud Selig said the game would be finished regardless.
This was also the same time when Buck said that the Rays couldn’t steal bases in these conditions. As soon as he was done talking B.J. Upton stole second with ease. He then made it around third to score unbelievably fast on a Carlos Pena single to left.
Good Call Buck!
My rant is done now. And I apologize.