Hi guys, welcome to tonight's live blog between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays. Here are your starting lineups for tonight:
Tampa Bay Rays (31-18)
SP: Jeff Niemann (5-0, 2.37 ERA)
Toronto Blue Jays (31-22)
SP: Brian Tallet (1-1, 6.11 ERA)
Jeff Niemann has a 2-1 career record vs. the Blue Jays with a 4.67 ERA. Brian Tallet also has a 2-1 career record vs. the Rays with a 6.03 ERA.
Niemann has been especially tough on right-handed batters this season, holding them to a .197 AVG. Lefties are still only only .221 vs. Niemann.
Tallet only made three starts in early April before getting injured and being sent down to the minors.
He only made one appearance with the Las Vegas 51's, only making it through one and a third inning while giving up 8 runs.
Cito Gaston said that Brian Tallet will be limited to 85 pitches or so in tonight's start. I think it will be a miracle if he makes it past 60 pitches, but anything can happen I guess!
Also of note, Jesse Litsch will be starting tonight for the Las Vegas 51's. Litsch is 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA through 12 innings this season.
He's still on track to replace Brian Tallet as the 5th starting coming up for this Sunday's game against the Yankees.
Surprisingly, Brian Tallet isn't donning his hipster moustache tonight. Maybe if he gets a win under his belt, the lip sweater will come back once again.
@Alleycat17 Me neither April, anything less than 5 ER in 5 innings would be fantastic. He's really only a temporary solution for the time being.
The Blue Jays will be hoping to hand Jeff Niemann his first loss of the season. Niemann is still 5-0 and has had a great season thus far. The sophomore slump doesn't seem to be affecting him at all.
The Rays have shuffled their lineup a little bit. Jason Bartlett is still injured, and so Ben Zobrist has been moved out of the leadoff spot, which will be occupied tonight by B.J. Upton.
Here we go! First pitch strike down the middle to start the game.
Tallet misses a little inside on Upton for ball two.
Great location from Tallet, strike two.
Brian Tallet misses low with a 91 MPH fastball, even count now to Upton.
Upton doesn't get all of it, Upton lines out to Edwin Encarnacion who shuffles a few feet to his left to get the out.
Here's the Blue Jay killer, Carl Crawford.
Tallet one-hops it to Buck, doesn't want to get too inside on Crawford. Ball one.
Aaron Hill tackles the easy grounder, Crawford gone on three pitches.
Tallet's doing a great job of pounding the strike zone so far.
I've always thought Longoria has a very interesting batting stance. He's almost completely standing straight in the batter's box.
Changeup in the dirt for ball three.
Longoria goes for pitch in the same location where he hit his triple late in the game last night. This one is fouled away.
Evan Longoria looks at ball four low, he reaches base. Carlos Pena at the dish, now.
Tallet misses about a foot wide of the plate, ball one to Pena.
Pena fouls it high to the left side, Encarnacion and Lewis both watch it drop in foul territory. They didn't have a beat on it, tough to read with the roof open tonight.
A couple of hops, Pena grounds out to Overbay at first base. Longoria is stranded at first base. On to the bottom of the first!
@hampyj Hey, whatever works for him. Same goes for Youkilis - it looks weird, but they're two of the best in the game.
@IainS Let's hope so ... it was also the Pacific Coast League, which is notorious for being a hitter's league, so those ERA's are a little inflated.
Lewis jumps on the first pitch from Niemann.
Again, Lewis is swinging at the breaking ball and comes up empty: 0-2 count.
Fred Lewis socks one to right field for a leadoff solo home run. Jays jump out to a 1-0 lead.
Aaron Hill tries to be aggressive early in the count, pops up to Carlos Pena at first base. One away.