Sunday, April 13, 2008
(posted by One More Dying Quail)
2004 first-round draft pick Jeff Niemann made his major league debut for the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon, allowing one run on six hits in six innings against the Baltimore Orioles. The day threatened to spiral out of control early, as Baltimore loaded the bases with one out in the first, but Niemann retired Aubrey Huff and Luke Scott to escape the jam unscathed. He matched zeroes with Brian Burres for four innings before his teammates put up six runs in the bottom of the fifth and took some of the pressure off.
One of those teammates was Evan Longoria, making his second straight start at third base since being called up late Friday. After a 1-for-3 debut yesterday, Longoria is 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored thus far this afternoon.
Two other hot prospects weren't as fortunate. Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto followed up a pair of excellent performances in his major league debut and encore with a much more human line: six innings, five runs, five hits, six strikeouts, and Minnesota's Francisco Liriano struggled in his first outing against major league hitters since 2006, giving up four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings against Kansas City. His control was an issue, with five walks, although I'm sure the Twins won't complain as long as his elbow remains pain-free after 90 pitches.
Five games remain on today's schedule. Several other youngsters, including New York's Phil Hughes, San Francisco's Tim Lincecum, and Arizona's Justin Upton, should see action in the late games.