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 @ Rangers: Niemann’s turn to keep the train rolling
Posted Apr 28, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Apr 28, 2012 at 05:44 PM
ARLINGTON, Tx. The Rays start today alone in first place for the first time since April 11. Their one-game lead over the Orioles is their largest lead since May 19, 2011.
The Rays six-game winning streak is the current longest in the major leagues while their record in the past 10 games (8-2) is the best mark in the majors during that span.
Jeff Niemann will try to keep the train on the tracks tonight against the Rangers at the Rangers Ballpark. Niemann has had his problems against the Rangers offense, allowing 12 runs in 9 2/3 innings in a pair of starts.
The Rangers are throwing right-hander Colby Lewis, who is 3-0 with a 4.15 ERA lifetime against the Rays.
The Rays enter tonight fresh off an 8-4 victory that saw them record a season-high 16 hits. James Shields earned the win to go 4-0, matching Andy Sonnanstine (2008) and Matt Garza (2010) as the only pitchers in franchise history to go 4-0 in April.
Shields is also tied with Robbie Ross of the Rangers and Lance Lynn of the Cardinals for the most wins in the majors.
We’ll B.J. Upton, 0-for-7 lifetime against Lewis, has the night off.
Brandon Allen will make his first start for the Rays. He’ll play left field and Desmond Jennings will move to center.
Elliot Johnson is in at short as Maddon tries to get as many lefties in the lineup against Lewis. Lefties are hitting .273 vs. Lewis this season.
Here are the lineups:
Niemann RHP (1-2, 4.11)
Lewis RHP (2-0, 2.03)