After a tough, tough loss to the Kansas City Royals last night in a game where the Indians fell behind 5-0, but which eventually ended with the Tribe down 5-4 and with the bases loaded in the ninth before Carlos Santana was called out on strikes, Cleveland will attempt to win their second in the first three games of a four-game series tonight at 8:10 Cleveland-time.
Needing a win to retain sole possession of first place in the Central Division, the Indians will send Justin Masterson (3-0, 1.33) to the mound.
Masterson has won each of his decisions this year, defeating — in order — Chicago, Seattle and Baltimore. In each of his starts, Masterson has given up just one run, and in 20 1/3 innings so far this season has surrendered 15 hits, walked only four and struck out 12.
In his last appearance — on Friday against the Orioles — Masterson went seven innings and surrendered only three hits in an 8-2 Tribe victory.
In ten career appearances against the Royals, Masterson is 1-2 with a 4.45 ERA in 30 1/3 innings of work.
The Royals will send Luke Hochevar (2-1, 4.21 ERA). Hochevar will be making his fifth start of the season, and is coming off of a brilliant performance against the Seattle Mariners on Friday.
In seven innings against the Mariners, Hochevar allowed only one hit, with two walks and four K’s, in a game that the Royals barely hung onto, winning 6-5. It was his second straight win, after having defeated Detroit on April 10. Hochevar has a no-decision against the White Sox, and lost his first game of the season on March 31 in the season opener against the Angels.
In his career, Hochevar — in eight starts against the Indians — is 3-5 with a 5.16 ERA. Hochevar has hurled 45 1/3 innings against the Tribe, allowing 48 hits, walking 16 and fanning 40, as well as surrendering eight long-balls.
The series will conclude tomorrow night with Josh Tomlin scheduled to get the start for Cleveland against Kansas City’s Sean O’Sullivan.