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Rays celebrate before focusing on Indians

Series of must-win games leaves club feeling good about chances

ARLINGTON -- Bring on the Indians.

After 163 games, the Rays are finally in the playoffs. They will face the Indians at 8:07 p.m. ET on TBS on Wednesday night in Cleveland.

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Monday night, the idea of facing the Indians hadn't exactly scratched the surface of the Rays' conscience as they partied in the visiting clubhouse at Rangers Ballpark after a 5-2 victory.

"Get your 92nd win, you go to Cleveland against a really good ballclub," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "They're rested. I like the notion that we've pretty much been playing this [elimination-type] game for about a week now.

"This game has been a carryover of the last week. We've been playing these elimination games for a bit. I'm really proud of our guys. I thought winning the game like we did Sunday would let us come out relaxed tonight and that's what happened."

Soaked in champagne and beer after Monday's game in which he drove home the first run with a first-inning sacrifice fly, Delmon Young spoke about the coming one-and-done series against the Indians.

"They're a good team, they got in," Young said. "But we knew every team was going to be good. We're going to have to go out there and do the same thing we did tonight. Score, pitch well, and play good defense."

Alex Cobb will start for the Rays, opposed by Cleveland's Danny Salazar.

"If Cobb pitches the way he's been pitching since I got here, we're in good position," Young said.

Added Fernando Rodney: "I think we have the right pitching for Cleveland. A guy who throw strikes. And I'm ready to go."

Salazar went 2-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 10 starts this season. The 23-year-old right-hander has not faced the Rays.

Meanwhile, Cobb is 1-0 against the Indians this season after holding them to no runs on four hits in 7 1/3 innings on April 4 at Tropicana Field.

Cleveland holds a 4-2 advantage over the Rays this season.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, Alex Cobb, Fernando Rodney, Delmon Young