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Rays Vs Tigers: James Shields, Justin Verlander Face Off

The Rays were served their first loss of the season yesterday. Matt Moore's first official start of his rookie year was ruined by snow flurries and a lack of Fernando Rodney or Kyle Farnsworth out of the pen. (The latter is on the DL)

Today, the Rays leap frog the fifth man in the rotation (Jeff Niemann) to match up their war horse James Shields, aka Big Game Shields, aka FuegoG, against Detroit's ace. The marquee match up will again be a day game - and hopefully a bit warmer. According to Rays beat writer Marc Topkin, the sun has been shining all day. For the sake of our Florida boys, let's hope it's at least 50 degrees.

Designated Hitter Luke Scott will sit out today, as he did yesterday with a sore hamstring. The cold isn't too kind to such injuries, and since it isn't his recently repaired shoulder that's bugging him, there's no reason to panic. In his stead, rookie Stephen Vogt will get the nod.

The Rays will face Justin Verlander, who got a no decision in his first start of the season when Jose Valverde blew the save against the Red Sox. The Tigers still won, and Verlander recorded 7 strikeouts with no runs allowed.

The Rays lineup:

Jennings CF
Pena 1B
Longoria 3B
Joyce LF
Zobrist RF
Vogt DH
Lobaton C
Rodriguez 2B
Brignac SS

The nod to Birgnac comes off his second start of the season yesterday, in which he got a hit and scored a run. Placed ninth in the order could be a vote of confidence from Joe Maddon in either Brignac's ability to get on base ahead of the top of the order, or his ability to move S-Rod around the base pads. Let's hope for both against last year's American League MVP.

Game Time: 1:05 PM
Match up: James Shields vs. Justin Verlander
Broadcast: SunSports, 620 WDAE

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