It’s been a fustrating past few days for Rays Republic. Two close losses, and one that for sure could have been won. Let’s start with yesterday’s pivotal Game 3 at the Trop. Firstly, Price was called to start that game over Jeremy Hellicson. To me that makes no sense. Why would Maddon start David (who has struggled this month) for Game 3 instead of Hellickson, who has more rest and is pitching great recently. Although I have great confidence and respect for Price, I just thought that Jeremy would be a better choice for the game. Despite all this, Price didn’t have such a bad outing yesterday. But that leads to another thing that irked me in yesterday’s heart-breaker. I haven’t discussed much about J.P. Howell on this blog this year, but he is definitely a subject of matter in this ALDS. For some reason, Maddon has a lot of trust in Howell.
Although I think Howell has been a big part of the Rays in the past and have a lot of respect for him, he frankly hasn’t been the same since recovering from his disastrous injury. It’s really too bad it had to happen to such a good guy, but that’s the reality of baseball. Unfortunately, Maddon is not totally aware that J.P. is hurting his team late in games (like last night). With Juan Cruz, Wade Davis, and Niemann in the bullpen; I don’t see the logic in putting him in in that situations. There’s plenty of other scenarios that would fit Howell, like a lead of at least 3 or a large deficit. Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann have done plenty this year to prove that they are deserving of this responsibility. The next frustrating ALDS decision I want to discuss, is the Game 5 starter. Optimistically assuming that the Rays win today, I don’t understand at all why James Shields is starting Game 5. Let me get this straight; James† Shields is the best pitcher by far on the Rays.
On the other hand, rookie Matt Moore has a day more rest than Shields and the Rangers have absolutely no answer hitting him. I’m aware that this means Matt Moore will be the ALCS Game 1 starter, but you got to get there first. At the end of the day, I still like the Rays chances in this series. This is virtually nothing compared to how much the Rays have been through. They came back from 9 games behind in September, I think they can win two games in a row. That’s truly how I think of the Rays being of the verge of elimination; win two games. I’m very confident the Rays can do this after the unforgetable miracles I’ve witnessed this year.