First it was Fernando Rodney, whose 22-scoreless-innings streak came to an end in Wednesday's victory over Toronto. Not to be outdone, J.P. Howell has put together his own 22-scorless-innings streak together, which is still intact.
With Tampa's long list of successful relievers over the years, the Rays continue to show that the front office and coaching staff know how to put together a bullpen.
"Most of the credit goes to our front office and the scouting department who are finding these people," manager Joe Maddon said. "I take no credit for that."
Rodney has been nothing less than lights-out all season long. He leads the Majors with 35 saves this season, converting 35 of 36 opportunities, and has a miniscule ERA of 0.84.
"Fernando has been ridiculous," Maddon said. "He's got great stuff. He's outstanding, what can you say about him. You talk about this wonderful bullpen we have, he's the guy that has permitted it to work in the manner it is by nailing down the ninth as well as he has."
Howell has a chance to surpass Rodney's scoreless streak in his next outing and can tie or move past the 23-inning scoreless streak James Shields compiled in 2011 for the overall club record.
"J.P. will go under the radar a little bit, but we've talked about how much better he's been," Maddon said. "It's pretty impressive."
Howell has an ERA of 2.85 this season in 41 games. He has not allowed a run since a June 13 outing against the New York Mets.