Masterson pitched well enough in his last start, against the Reds, that run support hardly mattered, and he'll try to continue his recent success when he faces the Yankees in the second act of a three-game set on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. New York took the first game of the series, 7-1.
Masterson, who has won consecutive decisions for the first time this season, didn't allow an earned run in his complete-game victory on Wednesday. The sinkerballer gave up only three hits, struck out nine and walked none in his best performance of the season. He even got strong run support in the Indians' 8-1 win.
"It's nice," Masterson said after the game. "I think it's nice for them, too. I think they just feel good because I think sometimes they wear themselves out when they're not scoring as many runs for me, or anybody."
Masterson is just 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA, but he's improved of late. The righty is 2-2 with a 1.24 ERA in his last four starts and hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 20 1/3 innings.
Masterson isn't alone; the Indians have scored only five runs in their last four games, and they've lost three in a row.
The Yankees will counter with righty Phil Hughes who was in a groove before his last start, against the Braves. After winning four consecutive decisions, Hughes gave up six runs -- including four homers -- over 4 1/3 innings in defeat.
Hughes struggled to locate his fastball and paid dearly.
"I'm a fly-ball pitcher," Hughes said after the game. "I don't get ground balls very often, and if I don't have my best fastball, they're not popups or swing-throughs, they're hit hard in the air. Especially here [at Yankee Stadium], that's not a good combination."
Hughes is 7-6 with a 4.94 ERA on the season, but like the rest of the Yankees' starters, he has fared better in June, going 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA in four starts.
Indians: Gomez optioned
The Indians optioned righty Jeanmar Gomez to Triple-A Columbus prior to Monday's game, and to fill his roster spot, Cleveland recalled lefty reliever Scott Barnes from Columbus, expanding the bullpen to eight arms.
Cleveland is expected to make another move and recall righty Zach McAllister for Thursday's start at Baltimore. McAllister last started for the Indians on May 23, and he is 1-1 with a 3.96 ERA in four starts this season.
"This is not a one-and-done type of thing," manager Manny Acta said. "When Zach came up earlier, he threw the ball well for us."
Acta said on Monday that designated hitter Travis Hafner could make a Minor League rehab assignment within the "next couple of days." Hafner, who is on the disabled list after undergoing arthroscopic right knee surgery, hasn't played since May 23.
Yankees: A-Rod gets day off
Manager Joe Girardi left third baseman Alex Rodriguez out of Monday's lineup in an effort to keep him healthy. The Yankees don't have another scheduled off-day until July 5.
"I'm just trying to stay proactive," Girardi said.
Girardi plans to continue to give other veteran players an occasional day off as the season progresses.
On Monday, Catcher Russell Martin missed his second game in as many nights due to back tightness. Girardi said Martin was feeling better and will likely return to the lineup on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Hughes is 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four career starts against the Indians.
Derek Jeter is hitting .328 (187-for-570) with 31 doubles, 12 home runs and 73 RBIs in 143 career games against the Indians.
Indians leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-4 on Monday and is hitting .379 (11-for-29) with six doubles in his last seven games.