Justin Masterson takes aim at his first win of the season this evening when the Cleveland Indians play the rubber match of their three- game series with the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
Masterson won his first five starts of 2011, but has been unable to find the win column in five starts this season. However, he pitched well his last time out on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as he allowed two runs and four hits in 8 1/3 innings, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 3-2 win.
"We had a lot of opportunities offensively and they stayed in the game," said Masterson, who is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA this season. "Our guys did great scoring a couple more runs to tie it up."
Masterson lost to the White Sox back on April 11 and is 3-5 lifetime against them with a 2.31 ERA in 15 games (11 starts).
Chicago, meanwhile, will counter with lefty John Danks, who is 2-3 this season with a 6.23 ERA. Danks was awful on Friday against Boston, as he allowed seven runs, six hits and walked five batters in 5 2/3 innings.
Danks did beat Masterson and the Tribe earlier in the year, but is just 4-7 in 14 starts against them with a 4.90 ERA.
"Everything is kind of coming and going," he said. "We've been working hard and doing the things we need to do. But I would like to start seeing some results."
Cleveland avoided its first series loss on the road Wednesday, as it rebounded from a loss in the opener to take a 6-3 win. Jack Hannahan's go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning proved to be the difference in that one, while Carlos Santana smacked a three-run home run and Travis Hafner provided a two- run shot for the Indians, who have alternated wins and losses over their last six games.
"It was a good game to win after we felt that we had plenty of opportunities earlier in the game," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said.
Joe Smith (1-0) picked up the win by tossing a scoreless seventh frame.
Philip Humber, who has struggled since his perfect game on April 21 against Seattle, allowed three runs on four hits and six walks in six innings for Chicago.
"I just want to get back to the basics and I think if I could do that, things are going to get better," Humber said.
Adam Dunn belted a solo homer and Alexei Ramirez added a two-run single for the White Sox, who have dropped six of their last eight contests.
Johnny Damon made his Indians debut, but after going 0-for-3 left the game with general cramping in the sixth inning.
"I felt it in my hands, the back, the calves," Damon said on Wednesday night. "I was like, 'You've got to be kidding me.' Sometimes I guess when you get jacked up and ready to go, this kind of stuff can happen. I plan to be ready tomorrow."
The White Sox, who are 3-1 this season versus the Indians, are 8-3-1 in season series with the Tribe since 2000.