Interleague Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, June 14th
(All times Eastern)
Washington Nationals (33-32) at Cleveland Indians (32-33), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.59)
Cleveland - Justin Masterson (8-5, 3.68)
(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Indians are back in the friendly confines of
Progressive Field, where they'll begin a nine-game homestand Friday with the
first of three straight games versus the Washington Nationals.
The Indians are glad to be back in Cleveland after going just 2-7 on a nine-
game road trip. The journey ended on a positive note, as the Indians won the
last two matchups of a three-game set against the Texas Rangers.
In Wednesday's 5-2 win at the Ballpark in Arlington, starting pitcher Ubaldo
Jimenez got back over the .500 mark (5-4) and held the Rangers to a run and
four hits in five innings of work. He did walk four batters and struck out
four for the Indians, who needed five relievers to preserve Cleveland's second
win in a row since losing eight straight.
"Ubaldo got us to a point where it was manageable," Indians manager Terry
Francona said. "(Bryan) Shaw was very good. Anytime you limit them to one or
two runs, you're doing something pretty good."
Jason Kipnis homered and finished with three hits and Mike Aviles belted a
two-run homer in the win. The Indians were able to pull within 4 1/2 games of
Detroit for first place in the AL Central and will also welcome Kansas City
and Minnesota to Progressive Field.
Justin Masterson has pitched on the road in his last two starts and is most
likely glad to be back home, where he is 5-1 in seven starts to go along with
a 2.36 earned run average. Masterson, though, is only 1-3 with a 6.04 ERA in
his past four outings and lost at Detroit on Sunday, allowing four runs and
six hits in seven innings of a 4-1 setback.
Masterson, who gave up seven runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings at Yankee
Stadium on June 3, fell to 8-5 in 14 starts with a 3.68 ERA. He has lasted at
least six innings in 13 appearances this season and faced Washington just once
in his career in a relief role.
The Nationals will resume their nine-game road trip Friday and took two of
three at Colorado to open the trek. They have won two in a row and four of
five games, including Thursday's 5-4 win over the Rockies at Coors Field.
Ryan Zimmerman had an RBI double and later scored on Ian Desmond's infield hit
during the eighth inning to snap a 3-3 tie. Zimmerman homered as well and
collected three hits for the Nationals, while Desmond went 4-for-4 with a run
"We believe in ourselves and we know we can get it done with the bats," said
Ross Detwiler drew the start for the Nationals and did not come away with a
decision, as he yielded three runs and six hits in five innings. Craig Stammen
spun two scoreless innings of relief for the win and closer Rafael Soriano
worked out of a ninth inning jam to post his 17th save.
Not only did Washington stay on track, the club found out that staff ace
Stephen Strasburg has been cleared to start Sunday against the Tribe. On the
disabled list with a balky lower back, Strasburg tossed a simulated game
Tuesday and feels ready to return.
"I mean, he's never satisfied. He didn't have the pinpoint control that he
expects out there," Nats manager Davey Johnson said on the club's website. "I
think he attributes it more to the light air. Steve's always a perfectionist."
The Nationals will visit Philadelphia after this series with the Indians and
are scheduled to send Gio Gonzalez to the mound Friday. Gonzalez hasn't
prevailed since May 5 at Pittsburgh and is just 0-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his
last six starts. Gonzalez last toed the rubber Saturday in a 4-3 loss to
Minnesota and did not figure into the decision, charged with three runs -- two
earned -- and five hits in six innings.
Gonzalez, who is 3-3 in 13 starts with a 3.59 ERA, has dominated Cleveland in
his career, going 5-0 with a sparkling 0.72 ERA across six starts and 37 1/3
innings. The lefty is 1-1 in six road assignments this season.
Washington and Cleveland are meeting for the first time since the Indians took
two of three matchups at home back in 2010.
06/14 10:34:58 ET