Well, at least this guy isn't behind the plate tonight. (Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times)
Well, at least this guy isn’t behind the plate again tonight. (Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times)

The Tampa Bay Rays are back in Arlington Tuesday night, following the rally killing — game ending — debacle which found them on the wrong side of a 5-4 loss to the Texas Rangers Monday.

All things controversial aside, the Rays seemed to be a half step behind the Rangers all night, not really putting the pieces together until late in the game. To add insult to injury, Tampa Bay extended their perplexing 0-9 hit-less streak with the bases loaded (0-11 going back to 2012).

And if the offensive malaise wasn’t enough, Jeremy Hellickson’s 26th birthday outing seemed more like a present for the Rangers than it did for he or the Rays. The outing was cut short after posting an inefficient 5.0 IP/5 H/3 R/3 ER/3 BB/1 K/2 HR slash line, tossing 98 pitches (59 for strikes).

Roberto Hernandez will get the start for the Rays opposite of Rangers newcomer, Nick Tepesch. Hernandez has lost his last five decisions against the Rangers, owning a 2-8 record in 12 career starts against them with a 5.37 ERA. He’s coming off a four run, 6-2/3 inning outing against Baltimore, where he fell victim to Chris Davis (4 RBI, 2B, HR) and the Orioles in the 6-3 loss.

The Rangers have had previous success against Hernandez in the past. Nelson Cruz (5-16, 3 HR), David Murphy (7-14), and Elvis Andrus 5-14) have all been particularly troublesome for the Rays starter.

Tampa Bay will look to ruin Rangers starter Nick Tepesch’s big-league debut. According to ESPN.com, Tepesch won the fifth spot in Texas’ rotation out of spring training, but the team elected to skip his first start due to an off day Thursday.

Tepesch did throw on his normal rest that day for Triple-A Round Rock, an outing where he surrendered five hits and an unearned run over five innings. He was 0-1 with a 6.50 ERA in 18 innings this spring. We’ll post the starting lineup when it becomes available.

Rays 4/9/13 Starting Lineup:

Jennings CF
Joyce RF
Zobrist 2B
Longoria 3B
Loney 1B
Duncan DH
Escobar SS
Molina C
Johnson LF
Hernandez RHP


  • Following his recent addition to the 15-day DL, news broke that RHP Jeff Niemann is in need of shoulder surgery which will “most likely” end his season, as per the team. Niemann’s velocity has been down since spring training, and he was injured a lot last year. According to Hard Ball Talk‘s Craig Calcaterra, it looks like a rough rehab plus a non-tender this offseason is in the future. Tough break.
  • Anyone with half a brain knew that Joe Nathan’s “strikeout” was ball four. Here’s a fun little snippet of four different announcers reaction to the botched call Monday night.
  • Catcher AJ Pierzynski became the seventh different player to homer for the Rangers in their seven games.
  • Tampa Bay’s first error of the season came in the second inning when Ben Zobrist was unable to snag Pierzynski’s grounder.
  • Longoria has 10 hits this season, all singles. This is the furthest he’s gone into a season without hitting a home run.

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