With his team locked in a tight battle for the AL wild card, Jake Westbrook knows he can’t afford any bad performances in September.
The veteran right-hander will try to win his fourth straight start when the Indians wrap up their three-game series with the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome.
Westbrook, an All-Star last year, got off to a slow start this season, going 6-12 with a 4.77 ERA through 21 starts. However, he has since turned his game up a notch, going 7-1 in his last eight outings, including last Sunday’s 4-1 victory at Toronto.
Westbrook allowed one run and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings, striking out three and walking only one for a third straight start to even his record at 13-13.
“The way the year started out my goal was to get to .500,” Westbrook said. “Now my goal has changed.”
The Indians suffered a costly 3-2 loss Saturday, rallying to tie the game in the top of the ninth before third baseman Aaron Boone and reliever Bobby Howry made throwing errors in the bottom of the inning to hand the Twins the game.
Minnesota, which has reached the postseason in each of the last three years, pulled within five games of the AL wild-card lead. Cleveland lost for only the fourth time in its last 15 games and remained one game back.
Travis Hafner homered for the Indians, who fell to 1-1 on their six-game road trip.
Blog Coverage from SB Nation
- Slumpbot .200: John Lackey isn't pitching up to his contract
- Different era, different drug question for Rodriguez, Raines
- Marlins acquire RHP Straily from Reds for 3 minor leaguers
- Blue Jays ownership involved in bringing Bautista back
- Francona on Encarnacion: I didn't think there was a chance
- Diamondbacks sign OF Blanco to minor league deal