Justin Masterson has been the Cleveland Indians best pitcher all season. If the Indians are going to close the gap between themselves and the Detroit Tigers this week he'll need to continue his recent stretch of dominant baseball tonight against the Tigers are Progressive Field.
"Right now, our main guy has been Justin Masterson," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He's a guy who from now on, and for awhile now, we have tried to keep him on the five days routine because he's the guy that we want to see out there every five days."
Masterson(9-7, 2.63), won his last start against the Boston Red Sox, pitching six innings, striking out nine.
The Tigers will counter with right-hander Doug Fister(4-12, 3.29 ERA), who was acquired by Detroit from the Seattle Mariners at the trade deadline. He gave up three runs over seven innings in a win against the Texas Rangers last Wednesday.
The Tigers lead the Indians by four games heading into the three game series. The two teams will face each other 12 times over their final 50 games leaving the Indians plenty of time to make up ground. They need, however, to beat the Tigers in head-to-head matchups.
"We just need to stay close, within striking distance, and not let this thing get too far out of reach for us," closer Chris Perez told the team's website. "It's going to be fun. This is why we play. Every game is important, but those head-to-head matchups are even more important just because you control it yourself."
Cleveland has won 11-straight home games against the Tigers, though the team is 10-20 in their last 30 games at Progressive Field.