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Up next: Indians

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 4, 2001


7:15 tonight,

4:15 p.m. Saturday,

1:15 p.m. Sunday

* * *

SCOUTING REPORT: It must be nice to be the Indians. They lose Manny Ramirez to free agency, so they go out and add Juan Gonzalez, who is hitting .388 with 32 RBI in 26 games and has five outfield assists, and veteran Ellis Burks. With the resignation of general manager John Hart, the end of their home sellout streak and last season's disappointing finish, there are some signs the Indians' run may be ending. But they still have one of the most potent lineups around, the defense is strong up the middle, and the pitching isn't that bad. Should be playing for something into late September and probably October.

THE PAST WEEK: The Indians come to town on quite a roll, having won five in a row, including a three-game sweep at Kansas City in which they outscored the Royals 30-10. ... Catcher Einar Diaz has missed four games with a strained right calf.

EX-RAYS: The Indians don't have any former Rays on their roster. Coach Grady Little was a leading candidate for the Rays' original managerial opening.

PITCHING MATCHUPS: Today, RHP Bartolo Colon (3-2, 3.48) vs RHP Albie Lopez (3-2, 2.60); Saturday, RHP Tim Drew (0-1, 7.24) vs. RHP Paul Wilson (1-3, 6.35); Sunday, LHP Chuck Finley (2-2, 4.95) vs. RHP Bryan Rekar (0-4, 4.93).

2000 SEASON SERIES: The Rays usually have their problems with the Indians, and that was especially the case last season when the Indians won eight of the 10 games. Cleveland swept a weekend series at Tropicana Field by a combined 37-13, leading to the firing of pitching coach Rick Williams.

WHO'S HOT: Outfielder Marty Cordova is on a nine-game hitting streak and is forcing his way into the lineup with a team-high .429 average.

WHO'S NOT: Russ Branyan is not exactly making the most of his opportunity to play every day at third base, hitting .198.

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