Josh Tomlin will take the mound on Saturday afternoon with a tough act to follow. So far Tomlin has been up to the task in his previous two starts, and will need to be up to the task again to equal Justin Masterson’s three wins, as the Indians take on the slumping Orioles in the middle game of their three-game weekend set.
Masterson was brilliant again on Friday night against Baltimore, working seven innings and allowing only four hits and a run to drop his ERA to 1.33, as the Tribe moved to 9-4 on the season with an 8-2 win over the Orioles, who have dropped five in a row and find themselves at .500 and a game behind the Yankees in the AL East.
Baltimore will send Jeremy Guthrie to try to end their slide. Guthrie is 1-1, with a sparkling 0.64 ERA, in two appearances covering 14 innings. Guthrie won on April 1, going eight innings and allowing only three hits and no runs in a win over Tampa Bay, then sat until last Sunday, giving up just one run and four hits in six frames against Texas, but getting the loss in a 3-0 Rangers’ shutout.
Guthrie has walked two and fanned seven in his work thus far in 2011, and has surrendered one homer.
Josh Tomlin, meanwhile, is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 2/3 innings. Tomlin beat Boston on April 5, surrendering just three hits and a run in seven innings against the Red Sox, and followed that performance up with a victory last Sunday in Seattle, helping Cleveland to finish off their second straight sweep. In the Mariners’ game, Tomlin went 6 2/3 frames, allowing three runs, on — again — only three hits.
For the season thus far, Tomlin has walked six and whiffed seven, allowing one home run.
The Indians hope to be able to continue the work with the bats that they brought to the park on Friday. Asdrubal Cabrera drove in four runs, Travis Hafner homered and five Indians each delivered two hits as part of a 12-hit attack.
it won’t be easy against Guthrie, but the Tribe was able to beat Zach Britton, whose ERA had been 0.66 coming into the series opener. Guthrie, of course, has been around a lot longer than Britton, who was pitching only his third career game. Guthrie has been in 145 games — 124 of which have been starts — and has a career mark of 39-49, with an ERA of 4.10. Last year, for the Orioles, Guthrie went 11-14 with a 3.83 ERA.