I noticed, while watching the game last night, just how effective Andy Sonnanstine is at keeping runners to their bases. He keeps such a quick pace when he is on the mound, it can not only be confusing to hitters, but baserunners as well. The first thing that will jump out at you is the speed of his motion to the plate. Sonnanstine is very quick and the speed of his motion gives the baserunner less time to get to the base they are trying to steal.
The speed of his motion is just one thing that helps him in this department. He takes nearly no time between pitches to collect himself. This leaves baserunners to be forced to get a quick lead and doesn't leave them with a chance to settle into their lead. Also, we know that Sonny will make slight changes to his pitching motion throughout the game. This can be confusing to baserunners as well, who are trying to get their timing down on him. Sonny also has shown great control over his pitches. This allows the catcher to know where the ball will be, and leaves the catcher without the need to make adjustments. All of these things combined make him great at keeping runners to their bases, even as a right handed pitcher.
Looking at the numbers from last year, they would tend to agree that he was solid in this area. In 22 games started last season, Sonny only allowed one stolen base. He also had eight baserunners thrown out while attempting to steal on him. This shows how effective he was with runners on base last season.
Looking ahead towards today's game, I thought I would take a look at Edwin Jackson's numbers in this area. Apparently, for how good Sonny is at holding runners, Edwin is equally as bad. Last season, Edwin allowed 17 stolen bases while only five runners were caught stealing in 32 games. Edwin's motion to the plate isn't nearly as quick as Sonny's, which is the biggest difference between the two. Also, we know Edwin to have a lack of control at times. This makes it tough on the catcher to prepare for the throw, if the pitch isn't hitting the spot. Also, Edwin doesn't seem to pay enough attention to the runners as he should. I feel this is something that can be corrected with help from the coaches, and is something that should be focused on for the future.