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Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria looking for date with SpongeBob; Johnny Damon nears power-speed milestone

Rays at Rangers

When/where: 8:05 tonight; Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 970-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Starting pitchers:

RAYS: RH Jeff Niemann (9-5, 3.46)

RANGERS: LHP C.J. Wilson (13-6, 3.29)

Watch for …

Standing tall: Niemann has been on a roll since coming off the DL in late June: 8-1, 2.57 in 12 starts, including a Saturday win in Toronto. He goes into his first start vs. Texas unbeaten in his past eight road starts.

C.J.'s world: The eccentric Wilson has evolved from a reliever into one of the game's best starters, and he usually has plenty to say. He is 2-0, 2.88 in 15 games (two starts) against the Rays, plus an ALDS Game 2 win.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Wilson

Evan Longoria 1-for-11

B.J. Upton 0-for-10

Ben Zobrist 2-for-11

Rangers vs. Niemann

Josh Hamilton 0-for-1

Mike Napoli 5-for-10, HR

Michael Young 2-for-3

On deck

Friday: vs. Orioles, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (12-11, 3.40); Orioles — Zach Britton (8-9, 4.28)

Saturday: vs. Orioles, 6:10, no TV. Rays — Wade Davis (8-8, 4.52); O's — TBA

Sunday: vs. Orioles, 1:40, Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (11-10, 3.01); O's — Jeremy Guthrie (6-16, 4.42)

Monday: vs. Rangers, 1:10, Sun Sports. Rays — James Shields (13-10, 2.84); Rangers — TBA

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Just the usual Longoria/SpongeBob note of the day

3B Evan Longoria is looking for support in his latest campaign: to be in the "lineup" against SpongeBob and other cartoon characters for the Sept. 13 "Showdown" game, part of the promo effort for the Nicktoons MLB video game. Voting runs through Sept. 7 at 2KPlayball.com.

Approaching milestone of the day

With two more stolen bases, Johnny Damon will become the ninth player all time with 200 homers and 400 steals. The others: Bobby and Barry Bonds, Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio, Marquis Grissom, Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor and Joe Morgan.

Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria looking for date with SpongeBob; Johnny Damon nears power-speed milestone 09/01/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:17am]

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