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07/25/10 12:38 PM ET

Tribe's AL East parade of foes includes Yanks

Cleveland continues as to serve as the front line of the American League East wars. Some geographic adjustment? No, but as the Tampa Bay Rays exit stage right, here comes the team they are chasing, the Yankees.

Leading the Bombers' parade is Alex Rodriguez, whose continuing pursuit of home run No. 600 runs into the tough tag team of Progressive Field and Jake Westbrook. Rodriguez took a ball off his left forearm in the eighth-inning of Sunday's rain-delayed win over the Royals but is expected to be fine.

Monday night's opener of a four-game series continues the Indians' string of 14 consecutive games exclusively against AL East clubs, with the Blue Jays and Red Sox still to come.

Manny Acta's club appears up for the challenge. Although the Indians' Progressive Field torment of the Rays ended with two Tribe losses, this may not be the best time for teams to run into the Cleveland pitching staff in its home.

In 14 home games since June 28, the Indians have allowed fewer than three runs seven times. The club is 10-4 in that home stretch with a cumulative staff ERA of 2.06.

The responsibility of continuing that mastery befalls Westbrook, who has already made three contributions, allowing five earned runs in 17 2/3 innings in winning those three consecutive home decisions.

Westbrook, yet another of those popular pre-Trade Deadline targets who could be making his final start for his current team, will be opposed by right-hander Javier Vazquez.

But Westbrook's signature confrontations, the ones that will trigger flashbulbs as if they were hordes of midges, of course will be with Rodriguez.

This will not be the most favorable matchup for A-Rod's mission. Westbrook has allowed only four home runs in nine home starts -- and none in the past 33 2/3 innings.

Vazquez will be coming off a forgetable outing that nonetheless resulted in a victory Wednesday over the Angels. Vazquez had two splendid road starts (one run in 14 innings) before the Angels roughed him up for five runs and nine hits in five innings at Yankee Stadium.

Vazquez, however, has tendered overall comparable efforts in Yankee Stadium (4.87 ERA in seven starts) and out of it (4.55 ERA in 10 starts).

He will be facing a Cleveland lineup frustrated by its recent inability to deliver the key hits. The Indians have wasted a lot of that tenacious pitching by themselves getting only one hit in 26 opportunities with men on base over the past four games.

Yankees: Posada's string of clutch at-bats ended
Jorge Posada will have to start a new RBI streak after his 0-for-5 on Sunday ended his string of driving in runs at eight straight games.

Indians: Tomlin to sub for Laffey on Tuesday
Cleveland has notched at least one extra-base hit in 47 straight games, the longest active streak of its kind in the Majors. ... Josh Tomlin will make his Major League debut Tuesday. He will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to start in place of Aaron Laffey, who went on the disabled list with a fatigued shoulder on Friday.

Worth noting
Reliever Kerry Wood, on Cleveland's 15-day disabled list since July 12 with a blister on his right index finger, threw in the Indians' bullpen Sunday and "felt good," according to Acta. Wood is tentatively set to throw another side session Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.