Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays at Jays: Let there be lights
Posted Apr 17, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Apr 17, 2012 at 03:28 PM
TORONTO Welcome to the Rogers Centre, the site of the Rays second night game of the season and something the players have been looking forward to since the first night game of the season, which was April 7.
Tonight ends a run of eight straight day games, in which the Rays went 3-5. It also marks the sixth different start time in the last six games.
Coming into the game the Rays had has many morning starts (one) as night. Monday’s game at Boston was an 11:05 a.m. first pitch.
Jeff Niemann makes his second start of the season. He lasted five innings against Detroit and took the loss in his first outing of the year but looks back on that start as a positive afternoon.
“I really believe that was a quality outing just on the length of time (between starts). Everything felt good. Everything felt right,” Niemann said. “It was a start to build off of, and hopefully we can turn it into a few more quality games.”
He gets the chance to build on it tonight in Toronto when he faces the Blue Jays during the first game of this three-game series.
Niemann is 3-1 with 5.21 ERA in six career starts at Rogers Centre. He will face a Jays lineup that is fourth in the American League in runs and home runs though 13th in batting average through their first nine games.
“It seems like every lineup we face is dangerous, and they are,” Niemann said. “It’s just part of the deal. Every team has their hitters, but they can also be pitched to. That’s where we come in. Hopefully we can keep them off balance and let the defense do the hard work.”
The Jays are throwing lefty Ricky Romero (1-0, 3.38), who is 5-4 in 10 career starts against the Rays, including 3-2 with a 2.02 ERA last year.
As a team, the Rays are batting .318 this season against lefties. Carlos Peña has five hits in 10 at-bats, including a double and two home runs.
Here is the Rays lineup:
Niemann (0-1, 5.40)