video thumbnail

CLE@CWS: Masterson gets out of early bases-loaded jam

As Terry Francona gets his first look at the Red Sox this season, the Indians manager will send one of his pitcher's from his Boston days to the hill.

Justin Masterson was Cleveland's Opening Day starter, but the starting pitcher has allowed 18 earned runs in his last four starts as his ERA has ballooned to 5.21.

Masterson's average fastball velocity has dipped almost 2 MPH from May of last year, and it has prevented him from dominating later in games.

"We're just working on being consistent, trying to get him back to where he was last year, mixing his pitches good, making sure he throws his four-seamer in to lefties and things like that. Just a solid mix of pitches," Tribe pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "I think he's probably been throwing too many sinkers, and that third time through they'll figure out, 'OK, he's throwing sinkers.' I think we've got to mix a little better."

The Red Sox will counter with John Lackey as they try to extend their season-best seven-game winning streak. The starting pitcher is putting together another solid season while his pitches actually continue to get faster.

Three years ago, when Lackey finished the season with a 6.41 ERA, his average fastball velocity sat at 91.6 MPH. His ERA is down to 3.27 this season and his velocity is up almost 2 MPH.

Red Sox: Drew ready to return

Stephen Drew is making his season debut Monday, which could lead to a reshuffling of the lineup.

With Drew back, he's likely to take the everyday shortstop spot, moving Xander Bogaerts over to third and sending Brock Holt into a utility role. Holt has regularly played third base and batted leadoff during the past two weeks.

Holt has also played second base and outfield in his career, and started at first base Sunday. Holt was at first base again Monday.

"There's a couple of things that are being looked at," Boston manager John Farrell said. "What we're trying to do is keep that flexibility to keep Brock on the field as much as possible."

Indians: Aviles continues to push playing time

Mike Aviles proved himself to be worth more than a bit part for Cleveland while second baseman Jason Kipnis was on the disabled list. And even since Kipnis has returned to fold, the utility infielder has continued to play at a high level.

Aviles blasted a three-run home run and drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning on Saturday, and was rewarded with a start at third base on Sunday.

He's still technically a bench player for the Tribe, but finding ways to use him is becoming a bigger part of Francona's job.

"You're almost looking for games to get him in," Francona said. "That's kind of how we feel about him."

Worth noting

• Francona is going against his former team for the first time this year. He went 1-6 against the Sox last season.

• Through May, the Indians' starting rotation led the Majors with 496 strikeouts. Pitcher Josh Tomlin struck out eight more on Sunday to bring that total to 504. Comments