Yeah, the Rays were unlikely to win scoring three runs tonight, but tossing out J.P. Howell in the seventh to face Josh Hamilton with the bases loaded and two outs was the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with a half-loaded gun.

Was Jake McGee unavailable? What about Matt Moore for one batter? This was freakin’ game 3 of the ALDS.

For Joe, the commercial break before Howell threw his first pitch was like waiting for the lethal injection guy to stroll over and plunge the syringe. Right on cue, Hamilton torched a two-run single to right field to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead.

The reality is this game was right out of the script for so many of the Rays’ 70+ losses this season. Enough pitching to win but anemic bats.

It just feels so much worse in the playoffs.

Kudos to Dezmon Jennings for busting out of his slump and giving the Rays life — and hope for now and beyond — with two dingers.





  1. korfan says:

    Howell in ->our season was over already

  2. Amanda says:

    That loss just feels demoralizing. I will never understand Joe's love of Howell. I figured McGee wasn't available since he wasn't up, so when he got up later I almost threw my remote through the TV. I just don't understand it. I also honestly feel bad for Price. We really couldn't have asked for more from him and yet he still gets the loss.

  3. Jeff says:

    The decision to use Howell is inexcusable. Maddon is 90% genius, 10% idiot. Gotta take the bad with the good I suppose, but how can you not be angry at your manager not giving you the best chance to win?

  4. Ken Heller says:

    Washington 2, Maddon 0. Why JP? He hasn't got a big out since 2008. Upton thrown out on a pitch out. Did you see the Washington high five after the play? Adams was in trouble, Longo up, why run him Joe why? We've outplayed them 25 of 27 innings yet are behind 2-1. Go Rays, Go HellBoy. I don't want the season to end yet.

  5. Tone says:

    Imagine if they could have just had an extra pinch hitter on the roster instead of Howell; no Howell for Maddon to use and a pinch hitter for Kelly Shoppach. The last two games were ripe for the taking. Price did well enough, but the pitch to Napoli was terrible. Napoli should have never seen a ball that far in the zone. Anyway, I had low expectations for this series. I was excited when they were up 1-0 after game one, but I knew the offense would tank once they came home. They suck at hitting inside the Trop, but it gets worse when it's full. No matter what happens the end of the season was great and unforgettable.

    • Sublime says:


      "They suck hitting inside the Trop and it gets worse when it's full"... The truest words ever spoken! I don't know what's up with the Trop being full and hitting, but it is horrible.

  6. Sublime says:

    What we witnessed tonight is a microcosm of our 2011 Bullpen. In 2010 the situation would have been like this: 7th Inning, Balfour or Choate would have come in, 8th inning would have been Benoit, and the 9th would have been Soriano, end of story!

    Jason Collette put up a stat on twitter, in Price's 13 losses, he's had 19 runs for support, that's not even 2 runs a game, weak!

    2010 could have made 1-run stick, 2011 no way in hell!

    Does this scenario ring a bell, Upton on 2nd, Longoria on 1st...3 out later they're still in the same place! If the Rays are going to win again, they are going to need Zobrist to start hitting, dude has turned into a mini-blackhole.

    • Tone says:

      Zobrist's at-bats have looked pretty bad for over a week, but having Longoria strike out so much is not a good omen for winning a game. I still feel like it's incumbent on Price and the bullpen to hold leads during crucial games like this. Price's pitch to Napoli, and Gomes walking two batters was awful. I could accept Napoli beating Price on a good pitch, but that pitch was just bad.

  7. TBsportsgirl says:

    You couldn't be more right about the Trop. Price and Longoria cursed the place ever since they called out the fans at the end of last season. Any crowd over 25,000 they choke. They used to be so good with large crowds until then.

  8. Michael says:

    Maddon could be ruining Howell this year.

    He's clearly pretty fragile, emotionally.

    He's been destroyed this year.

    They should have sat him down August and wait for the Grapefruit league to get his mechanics (what little he has) in order.

    He has no confidence at all... and when you only throw 85 you have to be able to spot your pitches with confidence.

  9. CRRaysHead90 says:

    If Howell hadn't gotten in we would have won. Period.


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