June 20, 2011
A: Milwaukee Brewers
W: Jeff Niemann (2-4) 4.82 ERA
L: Chris Narveson (4-5) 4.55 ERA
Jeff Niemann came off the disabled list today for his first appearance in about a month and a half. I argued a couple days ago that it was Niemann who should have to earn a rotation spot instead of nudging Alex Cobb. Cobb has been getting better by the start. Niemann wasn’t too bad himself tonight as he shut out the Brewers over six innings. In the first five, Jeff was lights out as he threw less than 50 pitches. He lost some command probably due to fatigue in sixth and loaded the bases. He was able to work out of the jam without allowing a run, but he threw over 30 pitches which ended his night.
The Rays put their first two runners on to start the game and scratched out a run. Then Brewers’ starter Chris Narveson worked three perfect frames before loading the bases with nobody out in the fifth. Unfortunately, that brought up Niemann who struck out weakly. Neither Johnny Damon or Ben Zobrist were able to push a run across.
The game stayed one nil until the seventh when the Rays put up four runs. A side-winding righty Tim Dillard was brought in to face a trio of righties. He didn’t get any of them out as Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton delivered RBI hits and Sean Rodriguez was hit by a pitch. The Rays really opened up the game in the eighth when Longoria hit a three-run homer.
Sam Fuld pinch-hit and did his usual Super Sam thing by walking, stealing a base and scoring a run. He even went out and warmed up to start the eighth to make sure that Cesar Ramos got enough warm-up pitches in. Too bad. It would have added to the Legend. Also, too bad because Ramos had nothing. He was relieved after he loaded the bases with no out. Joel Peralta came in and got two out but really labored. When Joe Maddon finally came and got him after over 20 pitches, Peralta gave him a tired little smile. Kyle Farnsworth finished up the game.
Player of the Game: Jeff Niemann. I’m not quite a believer yet, but Niemann had a great start. Hopefully, this signals good things to come.