It's quite simple to pinpoint reasons for the New York Yankees' recent struggles - their lineup is failing to score runs and the pitching staff is having a difficult time preventing them.
Getting Andy Pettitte back could help solve one of those problems.
The 40-year-old comes off the disabled list to face the visiting Cleveland Indians as the Yankees look to avoid an eighth loss in nine games.
New York (31-25) is hitting .217 during its rough stretch and had only two hits in a rain-shortened 3-0 loss to Boston on Sunday that dropped it to 1-4 on its eight-game homestand.
Pitching has been an issue as well, with the staff compiling a 5.05 ERA over the last eight games, and the Yankees hope Pettitte (4-3, 3.83 ERA) can provide a spark. He'll be making his first start since May 16, when he gave up two runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to Seattle before leaving with a tight left trapezius muscle. He was placed on the disabled list shortly after.
"I think they were being pretty cautious with me as far as the DL, and it was probably good," Pettitte told the team's official website. "I was pretty locked up back there.
"I'm feeling good (now), and I'm looking forward to getting back out there. I just want to take my turn, get out there and do this grind with the guys."
Pettitte was solid the last time he faced the Indians, giving up one run in seven innings of a 14-1 victory April 9. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA over his last five starts against Cleveland, which will counter with Justin Masterson as he seeks his first road win versus the Yankees.
Masterson (8-3, 3.07) bounced back from a loss to Boston on May 24 by giving up one run and striking out seven in six innings of Wednesday's 5-2 win over Cincinnati. He's 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last four starts after posting a 5.91 ERA over his previous five.
''First of all, you have to have (good) stuff to (get out of jams), but he competes so well,'' manager Terry Francona said.
Masterson's current hot stretch began May 13 when he struck out nine in a four-hitter to beat the Yankees 1-0. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA in seven career starts versus New York, but 0-2 with a 4.34 ERA in three in the Bronx.
The Indians (30-26) haven't fared very well there in recent years, dropping eight of the last nine at Yankee Stadium. They'll be looking to avoid a sixth straight road loss overall after concluding a 3-2 homestand with an 11-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Carlos Santana had three hits to snap a 0-for-9 slump, and Mike Aviles drove in a pair of runs, though Francona was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
''It was a tough day for all of us, but we know Tito has our back,'' outfielder Michael Brantley said. ''Everybody in this locker room has the utmost respect for him, and we know he'll fight for us.''
Asdrubal Cabrera, hitting .158 in his last 10 versus the Yankees, likely will be back in the lineup after getting Sunday off.
Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis are a combined 2 for 23 off Masterson.
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