Tampa Bay Rays Looks to Get Back on Track at Toronto

Christopher WoodleyContributor IIIApril 17, 2012

Jeff Niemann will look to give the Rays a win in the series opener against Toronto on Tuesday.
Jeff Niemann will look to give the Rays a win in the series opener against Toronto on Tuesday.Leon Halip/Getty Images

After losing three out of four in Boston, Tampa Bay looks to get back on track as it opens a three-game series in Toronto on Tuesday.

Last Series

Despite entering Friday's game 1-5, the Red Sox scored 31 runs against Rays' pitching and won the first three games. Tampa Bay rebounded with a 1-0 Patriots Day win Monday, as James Shields tossed 8.1 shutout innings. The win ended the Rays four-game losing streak.

Toronto (5-4) lost two out of three to Baltimore. After losing the first two games of the series, the Blue Jays exploded with a seven-run sixth inning to defeat the Orioles, 9-2, Sunday. The Toronto bullpen had blown late leads in the first two games of the series. 

Last Year Against Toronto

The Rays won 12 of 18 games against the Blue Jays last season, including a 6-3 record at the Rogers Centre. Tampa Bay's pitching staff posted a 2.49 ERA against and limited Toronto and held them to a .207 batting average last year.

Starting Pitchers

Despite striking out six, Jeff Niemann (0-1) allowed three runs in the fifth inning of a 7-2 loss at Detroit last Thursday. Niemann is 4-3 in 11 career starts against Toronto and three of his four wins have come at the Rogers Centre. Last season, Niemann posted a 6.35 ERA in three starts against the Blue Jays.

Ricky Romero (1-0) came within two outs of a complete game as Toronto defeated Boston, 3-1, last Wednesday. Romero limited the Red Sox to one run on three in 8.1 innings. He is 5-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 10 career starts against Tampa Bay. Romano defeated the Rays three times last season while posting a 2.02 ERA. 

Tampa Bay Offense

Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, Sean Rodriguez and Luke Scott are a combined .115 (9-78) with 14 strikeouts in their career against Romero... After scoring 15 runs in their first two games of the season, Tampa Bay has totaled 23 runs over the last eight games.

Toronto Offense

Seven of Edwin Encarnacion's 11 hits this season have been extra-base hits... Jose Bautista is only batting .206 with one home run over the first nine games. He hit seven home runs against the Rays last season... Adam Lind is a career .423 (11-26) hitter with two home runs and seven RBIs in his career against Niemann.