ST. PETERSBURG -- The stat line for Tampa Bay reliever J.P. Howell was less than stellar on Tuesday -- one-third of an inning with three hits, including a three-run homer given up to the Mets' Ike Davis.
Manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday that he still has confidence in the lefty, and even said that outside of some unluckiness, Howell actually pitched well in his appearance.
"He made one bad pitch to Davis, I'll give you that," Maddon said. "It's just unfortunate. ... He threw fine, he was just very unlucky [Tuesday].
The pitch that went for a home run was an 87-mph fastball that missed in. The bomb was part of a six-run seventh inning that put the Mets ahead, 9-2.
"My biggest concern was that he would feel bad about himself afterward," Maddon said. "I made sure that I did speak to him after the game.
"There's that good baseball luck, and there's that bad baseball luck. It just happens. Whether somebody wants to agree to that or not, that's fine, I just know it to be true. He experienced bad baseball luck last night, and he's just got to move on with it," Maddon said.
Howell has given up a run in five of his last 10 appearances, including three homers in that stretch. On the season, he has a 5.50 ERA.