The Tribe swept Boston in a three-game set from April 5-7, but the Red Sox have been on fire since a 2-10 start, going 23-11 since and climbing to within a half-game of the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East.
Cleveland will send Justin Masterson to the mound tonight, hoping for better offensive fortune than in Masterson's last start -- a 1-0 loss to the White Sox last Wednesday in which Masterson tossed an eight-inning complete game, allowing only the one run on five hits but dropping to 5-2 on the season, with a sparkling 2l52 ERA.
Since opening the 2011 season 5-0, Masterson has lost his last two starts, and has not won since April 26, a span of four starts. This will be Masterson's first appearance of the season against the Red Sox, against whom he is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in 14 career innings.
Masterson, who pitched in 67 games for the Red Sox before coming to the Indians, will be looking to improve on his 21-30 career mark.
The Red Sox will send Clay Buckholz (4-3, 3.42 ERA) against Masterson. Buckholz will be making his first start against the Indians of this year. In his career Buckholz is 0-1 vs. the Tribe with an 8.10 ERA in ten innings pitched, but he has been strong so far this month.
In May, Buckholz is 3-0 in four starts, and has dropped his ERA almost two full runs a game from the 5.33 it stood at at the end of April.
Boston is fourth in the Majors with a .265 batting average. Adrian Gonzalez leads the way offensively for the Red Sox with a .342 average as well as with 41 RBI. David Ortiz shares the team lead in homers with Gonzalez with nine round-trippers.
The Tribe is right ahead of the Red Sox in third place in the Majors in hitting at .266. Of Indians who will be available for this series, Asdrubal Cabrera -- after his five-hit, two-homer day yesterday -- is hitting .302. Cabrera also leads with nine home runs and 32 RBI.
The series will continue with another night game on Tuesday and will wrap up with an afternoon contest on Wednesday before the Indians get Thursday off in advance of a road trip to Tampa Bay and Toronto.