Cleveland (12-5) at Kansas City (11-6)

Cloudy Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Wed Apr 20, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Justin Masterson(notes) didn’t win his fourth game last season for the Cleveland Indians until August. He’s in position to accomplish that feat much earlier in 2011.

The right-hander looks to win his fourth straight start Wednesday night against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Masterson (3-0, 1.33 ERA), who went 6-12 with a 4.78 ERA in 29 starts in 2010, has allowed three runs in 20 1-3 innings this season. He joins Cliff Lee(notes) and Luis Tiant as the only Cleveland starters since 1961 to begin the year winning their first three starts while not allowing more than a run in any of those outings.

“I told him, ‘Throw that little white thing over that larger white thing as much as you can,”’ Indians pitching coach Tim Belcher said. “If he does that, his stuff is so sick. If he throws strikes over the plate, he’s going to give us a chance to win.”

Masterson allowed a run and four hits in seven innings of an 8-2 victory over Baltimore on Friday.

“It’s fun,” Masterson said. “It’s been very simple, subtle stuff but I’ve done it enough to just go out and pitch and gain confidence with what I have.”

Masterson is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in five career starts against the Royals.

He looks to help the AL Central-leading Indians (12-5) bounce back after Kansas City snapped their four-game winning streak with a 5-4 victory Tuesday, evening this four-game set.

Alex Gordon(notes) went 2 for 4 with an RBI to extend his hitting streak to 13 games as the Royals (11-6) won for the fifth time in their last seven. Batting .407 with all 13 of his RBIs during the streak, Gordon is 3 for 7 with two doubles lifetime against Masterson.

Third baseman Wilson Betemit(notes) is 1 for 6 versus Masterson, but batting .395 during his current 11-game hitting streak.

Kansas City starter Luke Hochevar(notes) (2-1, 4.21) takes the mound looking to win three straight starts for the first time since June 29-July 9, 2009.

After giving up four runs in seven innings of a 9-5 win at Detroit on April 10, Hochevar allowed one and one hit in seven innings of a 6-5 victory over Seattle on Friday.

“I know he wasn’t extremely happy with his first two starts, but the last two he’s been throwing lights outs,” teammate Jeff Francoeur(notes) said about Hochevar, who allowed 10 runs in his first two outings of 2011.

The right-hander was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA against the Indians in 2010. He recorded his third career complete game when he allowed three runs and four hits in a 9-3 victory at Cleveland on May 20.

Grady Sizemore(notes) could be back in the lineup for the Indians after he came on as a pinch-hitter Tuesday. Manager Manny Acta plans to let Sizemore play three or four games every five days or so in his return from missing almost a year following knee surgery.

Sizemore is 5 for 10 with two doubles, a homer and two RBIs in three games since returning Sunday.

Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo(notes) is batting just .215 on the season, but is 11 for 17 with three doubles and three homers versus Hochevar.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Masterson Bos vs. L. Hochevar KC
12-10 Record 11-11
3.21 ERA 4.68
158 K 128
65 BB 62
1.28 WHIP 1.28


Wednesday, Apr 20