Niemann will try to send the Tigers to their ninth consecutive road defeat Wednesday night as the teams continue their four-game series.
Tampa Bay (61-38) opened this series Monday night with Matt Garza(notes) recording the franchise’s first no-hitter. Detroit (51-48) bounced back with 12 hits Tuesday, but managed only two runs - one on an infield single and the other on an error.
“It’s tough when you’re out there battling and you come up short,” outfielder Austin Jackson(notes) told the Tigers’ official website. “It’s just like that sometimes. Sometimes you come up short, but we definitely take some positives out of it and keep going.”
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria(notes) is hitless over his last 18 at-bats and has two homers in his last 31 games, but made his presence felt in the field Tuesday when he made an excellent play on Cabrera’s game-ending grounder.
“That’s what I love about our guys. That fearless aspect about the way we play,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Longo’s not worried about making a mistake. That’s where the fearless aspect comes in. If you’re not concerned about making a mistake, you do what Longo did. If you’re worried about making a mistake, you take the safe way out.”
The Tigers, losers of 11 of 14 overall, are on their longest road losing streak since dropping their final 10 away from home in 2005. Facing Niemann (8-3, 2.95 ERA) won’t be an easy way to end that slide.
The right-hander has limited the Tigers to three runs over 14 2-3 innings in two career starts against them, though he didn’t get a decision in either of those outings after receiving four total runs of support.
Niemann has received two runs or more in 15 starts this season. He is 8-0 in those outings - all of which have resulted in Tampa Bay victories.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are expected to give Eddie Bonine(notes) (4-0, 2.72) his first start of the season because Sunday’s doubleheader against Toronto threw off the team’s rotation. The right-hander has made 31 relief appearances in 2010, most recently 1 1-3 innings of scoreless ball during Sunday’s twinbill.
Bonine, who is 3-2 with a 4.38 ERA in nine career starts, threw 1 2-3 innings of one-hit, shutout relief against the Rays on Sept. 5 - the only time he’s faced them.
The Tigers won’t have their manager on the bench Wednesday, as Jim Leyland was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for inappropriate and aggressive conduct during the third inning Monday night. Leyland was ejected during an argument in which he said he accidentally sprayed second base umpire Marty Foster with sunflower seeds.