Thursday, April 16, 2009


What is the number of pitches Sonnanstine threw before being yanked for no apparent reason?

Andy Sonnanstine was cruising along against a fairly formidable Yankees' lineup last night; 5 innings, 2 runs, 4 hits while recording 3 strikeouts, issuing only 1 walk, and at the time was in line for the W.

Those numbers aren't spectacular, but I'll take them on any given night against any given opponent.

Here's where I get lost:
Why, when Sonny showed no signs of fatigue and never got himself into real trouble was he pulled out of the game? Why not let him pitch the 6th, and if that goes well, the 7th?

Instead, Maddon made the call to the 'pen and brought in Joe Nelson to start the 6th. Nelson did a fine job, but it was all down hill from there (with the exception of Brian Shouse who came in situationally and did well, also).

The other relief pitchers were all horrible.

Balfour, Howell, and Percy (the supposed "closer") combined to pitch 1 and 2/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and only combining to strike out 1, but, and its a big "but", i don't blame them this time (not entirely at least).

If Sonny had been left in the game until he reached his maximum pitch count (around 100, like everyone else) then the parade of mediocrity would've never taken place.

Let's say for the sake of argument that Sonny holds the Yankees to 1 or 2 baserunners in each of the next two innings (the 6th and 7th), but doesn't allow another run.
Let's also say the Rays don't score a run in the 6th or 7th either (because they didn't).
Now the pitching situation changes dramatically. Now the bullpen is only responsible for 6 outs so now you bring in Balfour/Shouse depending on where the Yankees are in their order and then *gulp* Percy in the ninth to close a 3-2 Rays win. Ta-Da!

I know its easy to see on paper, but it should've been easy for Joe Maddon to see in person. There is no conceivable reason as to why Sonny was limited to 78 pitches, none.

Its the first of many, many poor bullpen decisions I'm afraid Mr Maddon will make this season. He is a great manager, and I think he's the best for the job in Tampa, but he has no idea how to operate a bullpen/pitching staff (see Trevor Miller, 2008).

Come on Joe!! We deserve better than that. Sonny deserves better than that- he should not be "rewarded" for a good outing by being sat down after the 5th... unbelievable, and unacceptable!

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