Philadelphia Andy Sonnanstine is easy to overlook.
He doesn't throw hard, he's spent only two years in the major leagues, and he's the No. 4 starter on a Tampa Bay pitching staff primed with power arms.
But he's reliable.
"The guy is a winner," Rays manager Joe Maddon said Saturday. "I've talked about him for years. A guy like this comes through the minor-league system, or even gets drafted in the first place - a guy like Andy to get drafted in the first place takes excellent scouting as far as I'm concerned. You have to read into the guy's heart."
Sonnanstine is scheduled to face Philadelphia's Joe Blanton in Game 4 of the World Series tonight. The right-hander was 13-9 with a 4.38 earned-run average for the Rays this season and is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two playoff starts.
"I've had quite a few naysayers through my career," Sonnanstine said. "So I kind of take that as a chip on my shoulder and I feel like I have something to prove at every level, and I think that's helped me have success."
The Phillies acquired Blanton from Oakland in a July trade and he went 4-0 with a 4.20 ERA in 13 starts for the NL champions. He was effective during the playoffs, going 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two outings.
¢ Rooting for Rocco: Jamie Smith is a die-hard Phillies fan, and his parents are season ticket-holders.
For the World Series, though, Smith traded his Phillies shirt for one that reads "Root for Rocco!"
The 17-year-old Smith and Tampa Bay outfielder Rocco Baldelli both suffer from mitochondrial disorder, a condition that slows muscle recovery and causes extreme fatigue.
Smith, of Medford, N.J., wrote a letter to Baldelli this summer and the two finally got to meet Saturday night before Game 3 of the World Series. Baldelli spoke with Smith about baseball and living with the disorder in a lengthy conversation outside the Rays clubhouse.
"We're actually talking about how we're both alike in a lot of ways," said Smith.