Tampa Bay Rays Vs. Milwaukee Brewers: Jeff Niemann, Rays Win 8-4

The Rays inched into second place in the Wild Card race, beating the Brewers with some late game fireworks.

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Jeff Niemann Strong In Return, Rays Beat Brewers 8-4

The Rays (40-33) extended their winning streak to 4 games, beating the Brewers (40-34) in a late game power display. The night belonged to Jeff Niemann, however, who was making his first start back from the DL. Nieman (2-4) went 6 innings on just 85 pitches, keeping the Brewers off the scoreboard. He only had 2 easy innings on the night, but got some key strikeouts and managed to escape from a 1-out, bases loaded situation in the bottom of the 6th.

The Brewers got on the board in the 7th inning with a Jonathon Lucroy home run off J.P. Howell, but the Rays had pulled ahead big in the top half the inning. In the 8th, the Rays extended their 5-1 lead to an 8-1 drubbing with some lucky 2-out hitting . In the bottom half of the inning, pinch hitter Sam Fuld took some warm-up tosses from the mound, much to the surprise of the viewers and even the Rays infield. After he warmed up, though, Joe Maddon promptly relieved him, bringing in Cesar Ramos who benefited from a few extra warm-up throws.

Ramos did not have usual command though, and left without getting an out. Joel Peralta then came in, getting two out, but allowing two of Ramos's runners to score. Kyle Farnsworth then relieved Peralta, sealing the Rays win at 8-4.

Notes from the game:

  • Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria had the Rays only multi-hit showings, Zorilla going 2 for 4 with a double and Longo going 2 for 5 with a line drive, three-run home run.
  • Justin Ruggiano also had a key hit, doubling in Kelly Shoppach in the 7th inning as a pinch hitter.
  • Yuniesky Betancourt had 2 hits on the night, strongly suggesting the Rays franchise may face contraction very soon.

Current Series

Rays lead the series 1-0

Mon 06/20 WP: Jeff Niemann (2 - 4)
LP: Chris Narveson (4 - 5)
8 - 4 win

Tampa Bay Rays
@ Milwaukee Brewers

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011, 8:10 PM EDT
Miller Park

Jeremy Hellickson vs Zack Greinke

Partly cloudy,rain. Winds blowing in from center field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 75.


Complete Coverage >

Wed 06/22 2:10 PM EDT


Tampa Bay Rays Vs. Milwaukee Brewers: Jeff Niemann Returns

The Tampa Bay Rays (39-33) continue the inter-league portion of their schedule tonight, shedding the DH and heading to Milwaukee to challenge the Brewers (40-33). The Brewers, tied with St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Central lead, have played exceptionally at home, leading the league with a 25-9 record. But they are also coming off a devastating road trip in which they went 2-6, getting out-scored 47 runs to 31.

Taking the mound for the Brewers, lefty Chris Narveson (4-4, 4.48 ERA, 3.51 FIP) looks to get his luck on track. Presently, Narveson sports an above-average FIP (fielding independent pitching) rate, but an average ERA. For his career, righties have given him the most trouble, so the Rays may load their lineup with the likes of Justin Ruggiano and Sean Rodriguez tonight.

Jeff Niemann (1-4, 5.74 ERA, 4.89 FIP) takes the mound for the Rays, hoping to get his season back on track. After back problems sent him to the DL, Niemann has slowly worked his way back to the majors, making 3 minor league rehab starts. The bigger issue, however, is that Niemann has not pitched well since the latter half of the 2010 season, when he came back from another DL stint and struggled mightily.

The Rays are likely hoping Niemann returns to form soon, or else Alex Cobb may slide into his rotation spot and Niemann may find himself in the bullpen.

American League Wild Card Standings

New York 41 29 .585 0 Won 2
Detroit 39 33 .541 3 Won 1
Tampa Bay 39 33 .541 3 Won 3
Seattle 37 35 .513 5 Won 1
Toronto 36 36 .500 6 Lost 1
Chicago 35 38 .479 7.5 Won 2
Los Angeles 35 38 .479 7.5 Won 1
Baltimore 32 37 .463 8.5 Won 1
Oakland 33 40 .452 9.5 Won 5
Minnesota 31 39 .442 10 Won 5
Kansas City 31 41 .430 11 Lost 2

(updated 6.20.2011 at 3:22 PM EDT)

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