Interleague Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, June 22nd
(All times Eastern)
Cleveland Indians (36-32) at Houston Astros (28-41), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cleveland - Ubaldo Jimenez (6-5, 5.00)
Houston - Lucas Harrell (6-5, 5.07)
(Sports Network) - The suddenly red-hot Cleveland Indians aim to maintain a
hold on first place in the American League Central tonight when they head to
Minute Maid Park for the first of three interleague games with the Houston
The Indians enter with a half-game lead over the second-place Chicago White
Sox after sweeping three straight interleague games from the Cincinnati Reds
on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Progressive Field.
Cleveland picked up the third victory against their cross-state rivals when
Justin Masterson (4-6) allowed one or fewer runs for the third consecutive
start and the Indians' offense finally came alive for him in an 8-1 rout.
"It was nice being able to mix and match a four-seamer, sinker in the zone,"
Masterson said. "I think that was the probably the biggest thing. It had a lot
of good movement in the zone."
Masterson, the Indians' Opening Day starter after a breakout 2011 season, had
a 5.14 earned run average heading into June. After allowing an unearned run
and only three hits in his fourth career complete game, it's down to a more
He struck out nine and didn't walk a batter for the third time in his last
Asdrubal Cabrera and Johnny Damon homered in a five-run fourth, and Lonnie
Chisenhall added a three-run double for the Indians.
Dominican-born righty Ubaldo Jimenez gets the call for Cleveland in the
Houston opener with a chance to remain unbeaten against the Astros through six
The 28-year-old is 3-0 with a 2.27 earned run average in the previous five
meetings, allowing eight runs on 25 hits with 24 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings.
His most recent win in 2012 came June 5 at Detroit, where he allowed a run on
five hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-2 victory.
In two subsequent starts, he's given up five runs on 12 hits in 13 innings of
a no-decision at St. Louis and a home loss to Pittsburgh.
Jimenez is 3-3 in seven road starts this season.
Starting for the Astros is 27-year-old Lucas Harrell, who can add to a career-
best single-season win total in his first full year with Houston.
The Missouri native was a fourth-round pick of the White Sox in 2004 and
debuted with them in 2010, winning once in eight appearances with a 4.88 ERA.
He had a 7.20 ERA over five innings in three relief outings with Chicago
before being waived and picked up by Houston, where he went on to go 0-2 in
Harrell began this season with three losses in his initial five decisions, but
has since won four of six, including an 11-9 defeat of the White Sox on June
10, in which he allowed five runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings.
He dropped an 8-3 decision at Texas in one start since, on June 16.
On Wednesday in Houston, starter Bruce Chen (6-6) allowed only a run in 5 2/3
innings to help the Kansas City Royals win another interleague series with a
2-1 victory over the Astros.
J.D. Martinez was the only player in the game with two hits for the Astros,
who struck out 14 times and have lost five of six.
Jordan Lyles (1-4) pitched well enough to win, allowing two runs and three
hits in seven innings, but was dealt the hard-luck defeat.
The Astros have won eight of 15 interleague games with Cleveland since 1997,
including two of three when they last met in 2001.
06/22 10:54:10 ET