Cleveland right-hander Justin Masterson tries to strengthen his case to be included on the American League All-Star team on Friday when the Indians open a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland, of course, will skipper the AL team at the Mid- Summer Classic and could be eyeing Masterson, who is 10-6 this season with a 3.48 ERA. He tossed his third shutout of the season on Sunday in Chicago, as he scattered six hits and struck out eight.
"The defense, that's what was working great for me -- those guys were working hard," Masterson said. "They took a real aggressive approach, swinging early. It's all going to come back to those guys out there doing their thing. They made a lot of double plays, and they were pretty double plays."
Masterson needed that showing, as he had gone 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA in his previous seven starts.
The sinkerballer lost to the Tigers earlier this season and is just 2-7 lifetime against them with a 5.09 ERA.
Masterson will also try to help Cleveland gain some ground on the American League Central-leading Tigers, who lead the Indians by just 1 1/2 games.
Cleveland lost a game in the standings on Thursday, as it dropped its second straight game to Kansas City after winning five in a row.
While the Indians were losing their series at Kauffman Stadium, the Tigers made the most of their opportunity in Toronto, where Justin Verlander pitched them to an 11-1 win.
"He threw exceptionally well. He looked like he was in command the whole game," Leyland said.
The Tigers have won three in a row after posting just one win in its previous seven games.
Getting the call for the Tigers on Friday will be righty Rick Porcello, who is 4-6 with a 5.21 ERA. Porcello lost his third consecutive start on Sunday against Tampa Bay, as he allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.
"I've made some adjustments, but I still need to keep making some more to avoid innings like the (two-run) fourth," Porcello said after his last start. "Six innings, three runs, kept us in the game. I'll take it."
Porcello, though, picked up a six-game suspension after the game for throwing at the Rays Ben Zobrist. He has appealed, though.
Detroit has won six of its eight matchups with the Tribe this season.
The Sports Network