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Rays-Indians preview

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What's new: Beat the Twins on Thursday to log first three-game winning streak of a thus-far disappointing season. CF Michael Bourn returned Thursday after missing four games with a tight hamstring, though 2B Jason Kipnis (oblique strain) and DH Jason Giambi (calf) are on the DL. Carlos Santana has seen more action at 3B, with Yan Gomes the primary catcher. While the Indians rotation has improved steadily from a rough start, the bullpen, led by new closer John Axford, has unexpectedly been among the AL's best. OF Nyjer Morgan adds excitement. Manager Terry Francona is always prepared.

Key stat: The Indians have held a lead in nine of their 19 losses.

Connections: Rays RHP Chris Archer was an Indians draft pick (fifth round, 2006) and then traded, and hitting coach Derek Shelton used to be with the Indians. … Cleveland coaches Mickey Callaway and Kevin Cash (of Gaither High) played for the Rays, INF/OF Ryan Raburn is a Durant High product. Former Rays INF Elliot Johnson was designated for assignment May 3.

Series history: Indians lead 75-50 overall, 32-30 at Tropicana Field.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Rays-Indians preview 05/08/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:00pm]
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