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Groundhog Day: Howell laments World Series loss

Rays southpaw would love do-over on Burrell's double in Game 5 of 2008 Fall Classic

ST. PETERSBURG -- J.P. Howell has done plenty of good work during his nine-year Major League career, but on Groundhog Day, the former Rays reliever laments the 2008 World Series and knows what he'd like to do differently if given the chance for a do-over.

Howell had a tremendous season for Tampa Bay in 2008, his first as a full-time reliever, when he went 6-1 with a 2.22 ERA in 64 appearances. The southpaw has pitched for the Dodgers for the past two seasons, in which he's gone 7-4 with a 2.19 ERA in 135 appearances.

A fun-loving and gritty competitor, Howell would love to have another chance to face Pat Burrell in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series. The first time around didn't turn out to Howell's liking.

Rocco Baldelli's solo home run in the top of the seventh tied the game at 3. Howell, who got the final two outs of the sixth, faced Burrell to start the frame, and the Phillies slugger greeted him with a double to right. Eric Bruntlett pinch-ran for Burrell and scored what turned out to be the winning run when Pedro Feliz singled off Chad Bradford.

The Phillies' 4-3 win closed out the Rays in the World Series and tagged Howell with the loss.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for
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