Word came down last night that the Rays have decided games would no longer be chilled. With a little over a week remaining in the 2009 season, the Rays, with good reason, have shut down J.P. Howell. A key to last seasons World Series run, Howell was fantastic for most of the 2009 season and took reigns of the closers role about mid way through the season. For a good portion of the summer, Howell was nearly unhittable. From late-May through early-August, he appeared in 31 games allowing just four earned runs while striking out 40 in 32.1 innings. His opponents his just .153/.248/.234 against him; chilly.
Then Seattle happened and things went bad for the Iceman. I'll spare the women and children the horrible numbers, but over his last 17 appearances things were not good and opponents enjoyed an .881 OPS off of him. Howell said he's taking this as a paid vacation and he should. With nothing left to prove in '09, it's time to get one of the most over used relief arm some rest. Over the course of the last two seasons and ‘08 post season, Howell has thrown 168 innings and 2806 pitches.
I don't know if J.P. will be the Rays closer, but when J.P.'s In, Games will continued to be chilled...hopefully.