Interleague play continues tonight, but at least it's at home.
The Brewers will open the series with Chris Narveson (4.48 ERA, 3.51 FIP) on the mound. Narveson's up and down season has continued in June: Over his last six starts he's had four game scores under 42 and two above 73. He picked up a win despite the fact that he wasn't very good against the Cubs on Wednesday, allowing four runs on six hits over just 5.1 innings, walking three and striking out five.
A lot of Narveson's success has been due to his ability to keep the ball in the ballpark. He had allowed just two home runs in his previous 40 innings before allowing two to the Cubs, the first time he's allowed multiple long balls in a game this season. He's also not going to be Plunk Everyone's favorite pitcher: He hasn't hit a batter all season.
Narveson has made 77 appearances in his major league career, but none of them have come against the Rays. The only Rays who have seen him before are Sam Fuld (0-for-1) and Kelly Shoppach (walked in his only PA).
He'll face Jeff Niemann (5.74 ERA, 4.89 FIP), who is making his first start since May 4. Niemann has spent over a month on the DL with a stiff back and wasn't very good before going on, posting just one quality start in six opportunities. He hasn't pitched since a rehab start on Tuesday, when he pitched 5.1 shutout innings for AAA Durham and allowed just three hits and three walks while striking out four. He threw 92 pitches in that game.
Niemann's velocity was down a little before he went on the DL, but he's still got a low 90's fastball and will mix in a slider, curve and splitter. According to FanGraphs, all three of his off speed and breaking pitches have been below average this season.
Niemann has made 72 major league appearances but none of them have come against the Brewers. Yuniesky Betancourt (0-for-7 with a sac bunt) and Josh Wilson (0-for-6 with two walks) have each faced him eight times.
Via Tyler Barnes, here's tonight's lineup:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Corey Hart RF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Chris Narveson P
And in the bullpen:
Sergio Mitre pitched 3 innings (48 pitches) yesterday.
Mark DiFelice pitched 1 inning (15 pitches) yesterday.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched 1 inning (7 pitches) yesterday.
John Axford pitched 1 inning (11 pitches) Saturday.
Kameron Loe pitched 1 inning (15 pitches) Saturday.
Tim Dillard pitched 2 innings (47 pitches) Friday.
Marco Estrada pitched 4 innings (66 pitches) Friday and is probably a candidate to start on Wednesday.