Cleveland enters Tuesday night's game against Texas carrying six rookies on its 25-man roster, trailing only Baltimore and Detroit, each of which has seven.
Injuries to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and center fielder Grady Sizemore have created opportunities for youngsters who would have otherwise honed their skills in the Minors.
Instead, players such as outfielder Michael Brantley and shortstop Jason Donald can now call themselves regulars in the Indians' starting lineup. They join catcher Carlos Santana, starter Mitch Talbot and relievers Hector Ambriz and Frank Herrmann as rookies who have contributed to the Tribe's successes and failures.
"This wasn't the team we were anticipating when we left Spring Training," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "Our starting pitching has exceeded expectations. Our offense has been another story with our top guys being out."
But life goes on for the Indians without Cabrera, Choo and Sizemore. Their latest test comes Tuesday at Rangers Ballpark, where Tribe right-hander Justin Masterson opposes a first-place Rangers team that has Acta's respect.
"They're a very good ballclub," Acta said. "They have a very balanced lineup with power and speed, and their pitching has come a long way.
"They're a legit contender. We have our work cut out for us."
Perhaps no more so than against Texas lefty C.J. Wilson, an ex-reliever who will vie for his team-leading 12th quality start.
"For him to pitch the way he has for us has been huge," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said.
Indians: Hurlers cutting back on long balls
Tribe pitchers have surrendered one home run in their past 74 innings of work. ... Cleveland is 1-22 when it scores two or fewer runs. ... Double-A Akron outfielder Matt McBride earned Eastern League Player of the Week honors Monday after hitting .370 (10-for-27) with seven runs, two doubles, six homers and nine RBIs in seven games through Sunday.
Rangers: Hamilton getting familiar with first
Left fielder Josh Hamilton has reached base safely in each of his past 28 games, batting .429 (48-for-112) during that stretch. ... Second baseman Ian Kinsler has drawn a walk in eight consecutive contests, the longest streak of his career.
Masterson features a 1.86 ERA in five careers outings (one start) versus Texas. ... Wilson sports a 3.92 ERA in 19 lifetime appearances (one start) opposite Cleveland. ... The Rangers have won 10 of their past 13 games against the Indians.
Tue, 7/6 8:05 PM ET
All-Star bats power Rangers
Texas All-Stars Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero hit home runs to lead a 17-hit attack. The Indians' Jayson Nix belted his third jack in the series in a game delayed 16 minutes after a fan fell from the stands.
|Nix, J, 2B||3||1||2||1||0||0||0||.230|
|Santana, C, C||3||0||0||0||1||0||3||.286|
|Peralta, Jh, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.248|
|Hernandez, A, 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.226|
|Marte, A, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.196|
HR: Nix, J (5, 1st inning off Wilson, C, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Brantley; Nix, J 5; Duncan; Marte, A.
RBI: Nix, J (12).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Crowe; Peralta, Jh 2.
Team RISP: 0-for-4.
Team LOB: 7.
CS: Brantley (1, 2nd base by Wilson, C/Treanor).
PO: Brantley (1st base by Wilson, C).
PB: Santana, C (2).
Outfield assists: Crowe (Guerrero at home).
2B: Blanco, A (2, Masterson), Arias (4, Masterson).
HR: Hamilton (21, 2nd inning off Masterson, 0 on, 0 out), Guerrero (19, 6th inning off Ambriz, 1 on, 2 out), Cruz, N (11, 7th inning off Ambriz, 0 on, 0 out), Murphy, Dv (3, 8th inning off Perez, R, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Borbon; Arias 3; Kinsler 2; Guerrero 5; Hamilton 5; Murphy, Dv 4; Cruz, N 5; Smoak 2; Blanco, A 4.
RBI: Hamilton (62), Blanco, A 2 (3), Arias 4 (8), Guerrero 2 (72), Cruz, N (40), Kinsler (28), Murphy, Dv (24).
2-out RBI: Blanco, A 2; Guerrero 2; Arias; Kinsler.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Arias 2; Guerrero.
Team RISP: 7-for-13.
Team LOB: 9.
E: Blanco, A (3, fielding).
Pickoffs: Wilson, C (Brantley at 1st base).
HBP: Guerrero (by Masterson), Borbon (by Masterson), Nix, J (by Wilson, C), Donald (by Wilson, C).
Pitches-strikes: Masterson 94-56, Ambriz 41-26, Perez, R 14-10, Wilson, C 102-59, Oliver 17-9, Francisco, F 19-9, Mathis 15-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Masterson 9-3, Ambriz 3-0, Perez, R 2-1, Wilson, C 5-5, Oliver 1-0, Francisco, F 1-1, Mathis 0-0.
Batters faced: Masterson 29, Ambriz 11, Perez, R 5, Wilson, C 24, Oliver 3, Francisco, F 5, Mathis 3.
Inherited runners-scored: Ambriz 1-1.
Umpires: HP: Chris Guccione. 1B: Tim Tschida. 2B: Tim Timmons. 3B: Bob Davidson.
Weather: 84 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 3 mph, Out to RF.
T: 2:49 (:16 delay).
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media