Justin Upton has been one of the Arizona Diamondbacks' hottest hitters lately, and he'll have all the more reason to perform well in Tampa Bay this weekend.
So will his brother, B.J.
The sibling rivalry takes center stage for the first time in the majors at Tropicana Field on Friday night, but B.J. Upton's struggling Rays will likely be without All-Star outfielder Carl Crawford as they try to extend the Diamondbacks' recent road woes.
After B.J. was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 draft by Tampa Bay, Justin one-upped his brother when the Diamondbacks chose him with the top pick three years later.
Both athletic outfielders have shown periods of brilliance in the majors, with Justin batting .300 with 26 home runs and 20 stolen bases last year. Despite slumping early in 2010, the 22-year-old has regained his form in recent weeks, going 13 for 31 (.419) with three homers in his last eight games.
B.J. is batting .231, but he was a postseason standout in 2008, helping the Rays reach the World Series. The 25-year-old hit a leadoff home run Thursday to help Tampa Bay snap a three-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over San Diego.
The brothers have never squared off in the majors.
"(Their) mom (Yvonne) will probably have the split jersey on that she's worn before," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch told the Diamondbacks' official website. "It will be a treat."
While Arizona (28-45) remains in the NL West cellar after losing 15 of its last 16 road games, the Rays are in need of victories as they try to keep pace with New York and Boston in the intensifying AL East race.
Tampa Bay (43-29) has dropped six of eight to concede first place to the Yankees. Even Thursday's victory came at a cost when Crawford left in the second inning with a shoulder problem, although the Rays are hopeful the injury is minor.
"I don't think it's anything long term," manager Joe Maddon said. "He probably will not play (Friday)."
Crawford is batting .306 and ranks among the league leaders in stolen bases and runs scored.
Tampa Bay's short-handed lineup faces former Rays right-hander Edwin Jackson, who spent three years with the team from 2006-08, winning 14 games in 2008 to help Tampa Bay capture the AL pennant.
Jackson (4-6, 5.05 ERA), who was traded to Detroit in December 2008, has faced the Rays once, working eight strong innings in a 5-3 Tigers victory in St. Petersburg on Sept. 6. It will be his second straight reunion start after he beat the Tigers on Saturday.
"I have good memories everywhere I played, but they're memories," Jackson said. "I'm with a new team - it's a new start. Sometimes the past is the past, and you have to keep moving with the present."
Despite Arizona's problems away from home, Jackson has gone 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in his last four road outings.
Tampa Bay sends Jeff Niemann (6-1, 2.84) to the mound as the right-hander tries to avoid going three consecutive starts without a victory for the first time this year.
He lost to Florida on June 13, but worked six strong innings Saturday and was in position to beat the Marlins before the bullpen blew a lead in the Rays' 9-8, 11-inning victory.
The Rays won their first seven meetings with Arizona before losing the last two. The Diamondbacks were swept in their only previous visit to Tampa Bay from June 20-22, 2006.