Justin Masterson has cruised past the New York Yankees every time he has faced them at Progressive Field.
He enters this home meeting off of two short outings as he faces a pitcher making his first big-league start.
The Yankees are turning to the unproven Shane Greene to oppose Masterson on Monday night in the opener of this four-game series against the Cleveland Indians.
Masterson (4-5, 5.16 ERA) is 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA in three home starts against New York with Cleveland, striking out 21 – matching the combined total of hits and walks he has yielded in those outings. He is 4-3 with a 3.00 ERA in seven career overall starts against the Yankees.
The right-hander has allowed eight runs in seven innings over his last two outings, giving up three over three-plus in Tuesday’s 10-3 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had that start pushed back two days because of a sore knee that the Indians believe won’t be a problem going forward.
"I think he actually feels OK," manager Terry Francona told MLB’s official website. "I think it’s some command that he’s going to have to fight through. I think he physically feels pretty good."
Derek Jeter – playing his final series in Cleveland – is 9 for 23 off Masterson. Ichiro Suzuki is 6 for 27 and Mark Teixeira is 2 for 16.
New York (44-43) has been forced to start this series with Greene (0-0, 0.00) on the mound after acquiring Brandon McCarthy on Sunday from Arizona for scheduled starter Vidal Nuno.
Greene will be recalled from the minors to make his second appearance after a shaky debut April 24 at Boston in which he walked three of four hitters – all of whom came around to score. He threw eight of 23 pitches for strikes.
The 25-year-old right-hander was a 15th-round selection by New York in 2009.
"Every opportunity is an opportunity to shine and you get more opportunities," manager Joe Girardi said of Greene starting.
New York won 9-7 at Minnesota on Sunday to take three of four after designating outfielder Alfonso Soriano for assignment before the game. Soriano is hitting .221.
The Yankees had dropped their previous four series since sweeping Toronto from June 17-19.
Cleveland (43-44) won 4-1 over Kansas City on Sunday after placing leadoff hitter and center fielder Michael Bourn on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Bourn has been battling the injury all season.
Michael Brantley went 7 for 13 with a homer and three RBIs over the weekend as the Indians took two of three. Brantley, however, is a .195 hitter against New York for his lowest mark vs. AL opponents.
"Obviously we’re going into Cleveland," Girardi said. "They’ve won the last couple of games. We know that they can swing the bats too so we know it’ll be a tough series."
The Yankees went 6-1 against the Indians a year ago, with Brett Gardner going 10 for 26 with a team-high eight RBIs.
Jeter’s .359 regular-season average at Progressive Field is the second-highest among all visiting players behind Mark Kotsay’s .384.