While the Indians might very well be eliminated from all playoff hopes by the end of this week, they do have a chance to influence what happens in the West beginning on Tuesday night when they face the Rangers in Texas.
At present the Rangers hold a three-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels. Both Texas and Los Angeles have 15 games left to play.
Success vs. the Rangers has been fleeting for the Tribe this season, as Texas owns a 6-1 advantage in the season series. The only Indians' win over the Rangers came in Arlington in early August, that coming after Texas came into Cleveland and swept the Tribe in June.
It should be a good pitching matchup in the opener of this three-game set as Justin Masterson faces Matt Harrison. Both pitchers sport 11-9 records, with Masterson's 3.01 ERA trumping Harrison's 3.50.
This will be Harrison's first appearance of the season against The Good Guys, against whom he is 0-2 in his career, with a 5.06 ERA over two starts.
Masterson is also winless against tonight's opponent. Justin is 0-3 career-wise vs. Texas, with a 5.48 ERA in 21.1 innings overall. In his only appearance in 2011 against the Rangers, Masterson lost 11-2 on June 3. In that game Justin allowed four runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings.
This series will sandwich 8:05 starts tonight and Thursday around a 7:05 start tomorrow, before the Indians head to Minnesota for the weekend.