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A capsule look at the Rays-Indians wild-card game

Tuesday - 10/1/2013, 7:40pm  ET

The Associated Press

A look at the American League wild-card playoff between the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians:

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Schedule: Wednesday, at Cleveland (8:07 p.m. EDT) (TBS).

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Season Series: Rays won 4-2.

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Projected Lineup:

Rays: LF David DeJesus (.260, 2 HRs, 11RBIs, 10 doubles in 35 games), RF Wil Myers ( .293, 13, 53, 50 runs in 88 games), 2B Ben Zobrist (.275, 12, 71), 3B Evan Longoria (.269, 32, 88, 39 doubles), 1B James Loney (.299, 13, 75), DH Matt Joyce (.235, 18, 47), CF Desmond Jennings (.252, 14, 54, 20 stolen bases), C Jose Lobaton (.249, 7, 32 in 100 games), SS Yunel Escobar (.256, 9, 56).

Indians: CF Michael Bourn (.263, 6 HRs, 50 RBIs, 23 SBs), RF Nick Swisher (.246, 22, 63), 2B Jason Kipnis (.284, 17, 84), 1B Carlos Santana (.268, 20, 74), LF Michael Brantley (.284, 10, 73), SS Asdrubal Cabrera (.242, 14, 64), DH Jason Giambi (.183, 9, 31) 3B Mike Aviles (.252, 9, 46) OR Lonnie Chisenhall (.225, 11, 36), C Yan Gomes (.294, 11, 38).

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Starting Pitcher:

Rays: RH Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76 ERA).

Indians: RH Danny Salazar (2-3, 3.12 ERA, 65 strikeouts in 52 innings).

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Relievers:

Rays: RH Joel Peralta (3-8, 3.41, 80 appearances), RH Fernando Rodney (5-4, 3,38, 37 saves in 45 opportunities), RH Brandon Gomes (3-1, 6.52), RH Roberto Hernandez (6-13, 4.89, 33 appearances, 24 starts), LH Jake McGee (5-3, 4.02), LH Cesar Ramos (2-2, 4.14), LH Alex Torres (4-2, 1.71, 62 Ks in 58 innings), RH Jamey Wright 2-2, 3.09), RH Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 5.17, 32 appearances, 31 starts).

Indians: Chris Perez (5-3, 4.33 ERA 25/30 saves), RH Justin Masterson (14-10, 3.45, 29 starts, 3 relief appearances), RH Bryan Shaw (7-3, 3.24, 70 games), RH Cody Allen (6-1, 2.43, team-high 77 games), RH Joe Smith (6-2, 2.29) LH Rich Hill (1-2, 6.28), LH Marc Rzepczynski (0-0, 0.89, 27 games).

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Matchups:

The winner advances to meet AL East champion Boston Red Sox in best-of-five series that begins Friday. ... The Rays are in the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons, joining the Yankees, Cardinals and Phillies as the only teams to make it at least four times since 2008. They also were a wild card in 2011, earning the spot on the final night of the regular season when Evan Longoria homered in the 12th inning. Tampa Bay also earned berths as AL East champions in 2008 and 2010. Since making a surprising run to the World Series in their first postseason appearance, Tampa Bay's last two October's ended with losses to Texas in the divisional round. ... The Indians are making their first postseason appearance since 2007, when they lost to Red Sox in ALCS. ... With one of baseball's deepest rotations leading the way, the Rays won 14 of their last 19 regular season games to rebound from a stretch in which they dropped 13 of 17 and fell out of contention for a third division title in six years. Since the wild card was added to the playoff format in 1995, only four other teams have pulled out of stretches in which they went 4-13 in the closing weeks of a season to earn a postseason berth. The Yankees did it in 1995 and 2000. The 2000 Mariners and 2008 Braves were the others. ... The Rays finished with 90-plus wins for the fourth straight season, the longest active streak in the majors. Tampa Bay took two of three in Cleveland. ... Manager Terry Francona, who signed with Cleveland in October after taking one-year layoff and working as broadcaster, won two World Series titles with Red Sox. He helped end an 86-year championship drought in Boston and the Curse of Bambino. ... The Indians haven't won World Series since 1948. ... The Indians reeled off 10 straight wins to end regular season and clinch wild-card spot. ... Cleveland's 92 wins are a 24-win jump from 2012. ... Salazar began season at Double-A Akron, but zoomed through system. He had a dazzling debut, carrying a no-hitter into sixth inning on July 11 against Toronto. Indians have no hesitancy in handing a 23-year-old the ball because of his fastball and fearlessness. The Rays have not faced Salazar. ... The Indians were outscored 30-23 by Rays. ... Cobb struck out six in 7 1-3 innings against Indians on April 6. ... Swisher is career .300 hitter (3 of 10) in 12 plate appearances against Cobb.

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Big Picture:

Rays: Longoria is the face of the Rays, however Myers has had a huge impact as a rookie. Tampa Bay went 56-38 after Myers was promoted from Triple-A Durham on June 18. The key acquisition in an offseason trade that sent pitcher James Shields to Kansas City, Myers has led the team in RBIs (53), runs scored (50) and doubles (23) since being called up. He's second in hits (98) and homers (13). ... Myers and Zobrist led the Rays with .294 batting averages after the All-Star break. ... Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price (10-8, 3.33) pitched the Rays into the playoffs with a 5-2, complete-game victory over Texas in Tuesday's wild-card tiebreaker. ... Cobb, Wednesday's starter, missed nearly two months with a concussion after being hit in the head by a line drive. He beat the Rangers, Yankees and Orioles in his past three starts, pitching to a 1.16 ERA. He's 18-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 33 starts since August 1, 2012. Detroit's Max Scherzer is the only pitcher with a better record during that stretch at 27-4. ... The No. 3 starter is All-Star Matt Moore, a 17-game winner with a 3.29 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 150 1-3 innings. ... The Rays are 11-14 in postseason games, 5-8 at home and 6-6 on the road. Longoria is the only player on the roster who's appeared in all 25 games.

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