They say that the darkest hour is just before the dawn. That could accurately describe the Rays rotation in 2006 and 2007 which featured some of the worst starting pitching in recent baseball history. While most of us assumed those days were behind the Rays, one of the pitchers has returned.
In 2006 and 2007, Casey Fossum started 35 games for the Rays with an ERA of 6.20. About the only way Fossum could have been worse, is if he were right-handed.
Enter Andy Sonnanstine.
If we compare Sonnanstine’s last three seasons to Fossum’s final two seasons with the Rays, we see some scary similarities…
One other thing these two pitchers have in common: an 87 mph fastball.
With Jeff Niemann on the DL, Sonnanstine will make his fourth start tomorrow. When asked about trying to get Sonnanstine back on track, Joe Maddon suggested Sonny get back to his 2008 roots.
Maddon hopes a talk about Sonnanstine’s previous success, specifically his 13-win 2008 season, helps. “I just wanted to remind him of some things he’s gotten away from, and he concurred,” Maddon said. “So we’ll see how it works out on Wednesday.”
Meanwhile, Alex Cobb is in triple-A with a 1.31 ERA (2.45 FIP). Certainly his first shot with the Rays wasn’t stellar (4.1 ip, 4h, 4bb, 4er). But at least Cobb offers something Sonnanstine doesn’t: an upside.
And Cobb’s talent and potential gives the Rays a better chance to win than hoping Sonnanstine will somehow rediscover his 2008 mojo.