BOSTON -- Rays reliever J.P. Howell lost Tuesday night for the first time since June 5 at Seattle when he surrendered a two-run homer to Matt Wieters in Baltimore.
"Changeup away," Howell said. "It was a 1-1 count. My past experiences with him, I thought changeup with him, if I miss, he's going to yank it foul because he's so edgy. But obviously, that's a year and a half ago and he's more mature. He waited a little longer than a rookie would. He's not a rookie any more. Write that note down and remember that the next time I face him again."
A bad moment for Howell, but he's been doing well lately, even though that performance is difficult to see in his 2-3 record with a 6.37 ERA. Since July 29, Howell has held opposing batters to a .179 average, which is encouraging for the left-hander, who made his season debut May 20 after missing the 2010 season due to left shoulder surgery.
"I've had a pretty good run since about Aug. 1. I've been more on par with what I'd like to be all year long," Howell said. "But I had such a rough start, everything is going to look bad at the end of the season. The numbers for this year to me look worse than what they are. You've got to look at the latest and I've been happy with that."
Giving up the homer to Wieters was a blip on what Howell has been doing lately, but he has a good perspective about how things are going.
"I had a good run and then they got me the other night," he said. "Now I just have to start another run."