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Stepping in: Niemann is coming off a strong start Saturday against the Marlins, giving up just one run and striking out a season-high five. The Rays have won six of his past seven starts and are 6-3 overall when he's on the mound (tops of all Rays starters). He has never faced Cleveland.

Short-timer: Huff hasn't lasted four innings in each of his first two starts this season, including a loss to the Rays in which he gave up seven runs in just 32/3 innings.

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Key matchups

vs. Huff

Crawford...............1-3

Zobrist.................1-2

Hernandez.............1-1, 3 RBIs

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Tough road

The Rays entered Wednesday's game having lost 15 straight at Progressive Field, their longest losing streak in one ballpark in club history.

15: Progressive Field (9/25/05-current)

11: Yankee Stadium (4/14/04-04/18/05)

11: Tropicana Field (5/22/99-6/24/99)

10: Metrodome (7/21/04-4/21/07)

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Need for speed

Rays LF Carl Crawford is stealing bases at a rapid pace, entering Wednesday's game with 30, which ranks among the top totals after 48 games since 1983.

35 Rickey Henderson (Yankees, 1986)

34 Rickey Henderson (Yankees, 1988)

32 Jose Cruz Sr, (Mariners, 1984)

31 Vince Coleman (Cardinals, 1987)

30 Carl Crawford (Rays, 2009)

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First pitch(es) of the day

Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, hosts of ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning, donned Indians jerseys and each threw out a ceremonial first pitch Wednesday night.

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Number of the day

4 Weather-related delays in the Rays' past seven games, with three rain delays and one due to a power outage (caused by lightning).

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Quote of the day

"It was World Series-esque, with a little better temperature."

Manager Joe Maddon on the consistent rain the Rays played through Tuesday night, comparing it to the weather in Philadelphia during last year's World Series

Up next:CRIME REPORT

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