It is not unusual for Joe Maddon to speak positively about his players when they are down. But last night he was even more upbeat than usual when speaking about JP Howell’s performance…
“You look at J.P.’s [Howell] outing and people are going to be critical of that but he pitched well. Of course you don’t want to give up the homerun to [Ike] Davis there. But he gets a dribbler and a jam shot. You just can’t control ball in play sometimes. Sometimes guys get lucky sometimes they don’t. So again, I thought those two guys actually pitched really well and then the flood gates did open.”
Maybe the one cliché that annoys us the most in baseball is how a pitcher just made “one bad pitch,” or “just two bad pitches.” We hate it. The difference between winning and losing is often one or two bad pitches, and when you make them.
Let’s take a look at Howell’s pitch that Davis hit for a home run. Notice where Jose Molina wants the pitch and then notice that Howell misses that spot by about two feet!
Maybe the other hits were unlucky. But this pitch was like mixing all the ingredients together the right way and then overcooking a 30-minute dish by two hours. The rest doesn’t matter.