There will be a lot of scoreboard watching going on this weekend in Kansas City as the Indians invade Missouri for a three-game set vs. the Royals while the Tigers and the White Sox square off for three games in Detroit.
Chicago is at present tied with Cleveland at 68-66, and both teams trail Detroit by 5.5 games in the American League Central with less than four weeks to go.
The Indians have to be pulling hard for the ChiSox this weekend, even at the risk of not shaking them away from the Tribe, and Chicago has a tough opponent tonight in 20-game winner Justin Verlander.
Speaking of tough opponents: Justin Masterson will have a rematch with the Royals' Bruce Chen in Friday's opener of the series at 8:10. Chen got the better of Masterson last Sunday in Cleveland as Kansas City avoided a sweep with a 2-1 win. In that game Chen went 7.1 innings and allowed just five hits and a run to win his fifth start in a row.
Chen improved to 5-2 lifetime vs. The Good Guys with that win and lowered his career ERA to 4.44 when facing Cleveland. Chen (10-5) has not lost in exactly a month, last being defeated by the Orioles on August 2.
Masterson (10-8) still has an excellent ERA of 2.83 after allowing two runs in six innings in the loss to the Royals last weekend. For his career Justin is now 3-3 in 57 frames of work with a 3.79 ERA vs. KC.
This series will continue on Saturday at 7:10 before wrapping up on Sunday at 2:10.
Though the Indians are 10-5 against the Royals in 2011, it hasn't been easy, and the two teams have split the last six games that they have played.
After this short road-trip the Tribe will come home for a huge series against the Tigers beginning on Monday afternoon. But we cannot think much about that until this weekend with the pesky Royals is done.
But we can scoreboard-watch.