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Jeff Niemann Throws Worst Start Of Season, Rays Lose 8-0

There are a lot of games played during the baseball season. A heck of a lot. The season is normally referred to 162 games long, but it’s true depth and breadth is much more than that — it’s 2,430 games, not including the playoffs. And during the course of these 2,000+ games, there are so many  some truly magical moments that happen. Events happen that have never occurred before in the history of the game, and memories are forged that will last a lifetime.

And then, there are nights like tonight. Some games aren’t special, aren’t magical, and are just one painful moment after another. Games like these are the ones I try to forget by the time by head hits the pillow…but considering I normally write these recaps right before heading to bed, that doesn’t happen very often. Not to say the game couldn’t have been special to someone else. But man, this was certainly a night to forget for Rays fans.

Jeff Niemann didn’t look right from the very beginning of the game, allowing a lead-off home run to Ian Kinsler and walking Josh Hamilton later in the first. He labored through the first few innings of the game, throwing 68 pitches through three innings, and by the time he left in the middle of the fifth inning, he’d allowed six total runs (and one inherited baserunner came around to score too). C.J. Wilson was cruising, en route to a complete game, 5-hit shutout, so those seven runs put the game comfortably out of reach.

This is Niemann’s second poor start in a row, as he allowed five runs in five innings his last time out. It’d probably just a random blip in his season and he’ll straighten things out soon, but at the same time, tonight was Niemann’s worst start of the year. And even during the stretch during the beginning of the season when he was struggling, Niemann never had two games back-to-back where he allowed five or more earned runs. I want to believe these few starts are nothing to worry about, but with Niemann’s injury history, I find myself jumping at even the slightest shadows. 

Here’s to short memories. I’m ready to forget this game already.

Game Notes:

  • What to make of Jake McGee? He’s seemed to have fixed his velocity issue from earlier this season, but his results have necessarily improved. Tonight, he struck out three Rangers in his one inning or work…but he also allowed two hits and a walk, and let one run score. One of these days everything is going to click for him, or at least, you have to hope it will.
  • The rest of the bullpen members out of the ’pen brought back memories from early this season: Juan Cruz, Cesar Ramos, and Brandon Gomes. They worked a quiet 3.1 innings.
  • This all feels a little surreal, but during the third inning the Rays broadcast had a preview for an upcoming charity event that’s happening at the Trop. For some reason, the plug involved one of the Rays’ wives dressed up in a full-body suit and refusing to give her identity. It was weird, to say the least.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.