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What's new: In year three of new management under Theo Epstein, the Cubs — on a 7-3 run — are readying for a wave of blue-chip prospects, promoting INF Javier Baez this week. OF Chris Coghlan has been sizzling. 1B Anthony Rizzo is a top home-run hitter, and SS Starlin Castro one of the NL's best. The starting pitching is better than the numbers show; the bullpen better lately.
Key stat: Baez is the sixth Cub to make his big-league debut this season.
Connections: Cubs 1B coach Eric Hinske, OF Justin Ruggiano, and Ps Edwin Jackson and Wesley Wright are former Rays; Coghlan is an East Lake High product, pitching coach Chris Bosio is a former Rays coach. … Rays P Jeff Beliveau and C Jose Molina are former Cubs, as is injured OF David DeJesus and bench coach Dave Martinez. P Chris Archer and OF Brandon Guyer were acquired from the Cubs as minor-leaguers.
Series history: Rays lead 4-2; Cubs won two of three in Chicago in 2003.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer