What's new: The Indians, with seven rookies on the majors' youngest roster, won their first six games after the break before losing Wednesday, but they're still 40-55. C Carlos Santana looks like a future star, former Gator Matt LaPorta, above, has been hot and the bullpen, led by Bradenton's Chris Perez, has been better. INF Asdrubal Cabrera is back from the disabled list, but three of their best players are out — OFs Shin-soo Choo and Grady Sizemore, closer Kerry Wood — and LHP Aaron Laffey, who was to start Sunday, was headed for an MRI exam Thursday.
Key stat: The Indians have at least one extra-base hit in 43 straight games, the longest such streak in the AL.
Connections: Rays C Kelly Shoppach was acquired from Cleveland for rookie RHP Mitch Talbot, who faces his old mates Saturday. Hitting coach Derek Shelton was with the Indians for 4½ seasons.
Series history: Rays lead 5-1 this season; Indians lead 66-36 overall, 38-12 in Cleveland, winning the last 17.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer