Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 6/14/13
The Cleveland Indians may be thrilled to return home. Justin Masterson may be the most relieved. Coming off a lackluster road trip, the Indians hope Masterson can continue his home dominance in Friday night's series opener with the Washington Nationals. Cleveland (32-33) opened a nine-game road trip by losing seven in a row before finding some solace in winning the last two, including Wednesday's 5-2 victory at Texas. "It takes a little pressure off," second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "You get a happy flight home, you get a day off, you get a little momentum on your side, you get to go home for a long homestand." A nine-game homestand may be just what the Indians need to begin cutting into the 4 12-game gap on AL Central-leading Detroit. Hosting an NL foe may be even better since they've won seven in a row in Cleveland in interleague play, batting .341 with 15 homers while averaging 7.6 runs. The pitching staff has been particularly outstanding in four home interleague wins this year, compiling a 1.25 ERA with the rotation getting each victory. Masterson (8-5, 3.68 ERA) was responsible for one of them, allowing one run with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 5-2 win over Cincinnati on May 29. He's won three straight interleague starts at Progressive Field, yielding two runs with 25 strikeouts in 22 innings. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA in seven home starts in 2013. Masterson, who is making his first career start versus Washington, hasn't been nearly as effective on the road, compiling an 8.06 ERA while losing four starts in a row, two on Cleveland's recent trip. Kipnis was one of the few bright spots for the Indians during that stretch, going 11 for 28 (.393) over the last seven games. He kept that surge going with his best performance yet Wednesday, getting three hits while coming a triple shy of the cycle and driving in a run. Michael Brantley, who owns a .184 average with two RBIs over the past 11 road games, could be sparked with a return to Cleveland, where he is hitting .345 with 10 RBIs in his last eight contests. The Nationals (33-32) are hoping for a similar result for Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.59), who is facing the Indians for the first time since Sept. 1, 2011, with Oakland. The left-hander is 5-0 with a 0.72 ERA in six career meetings, winning all four visits to Progressive Field. He's needed some help from the lineup lately, going 0-1 with a 2.27 ERA while being backed by 11 total runs over his last six games. The bats provided him two runs Saturday, while he allowed three in six innings of a 4-3 loss in 11 at Minnesota. Washington, though, has since won four of five behind a .292 average after winning 5-4 at Colorado on Thursday. Still, the team is 5 12 games back of NL East-leading Atlanta. "We just need to grind it out and stay where we're at and stay within striking distance," said third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who hit his seventh homer Thursday. "And then hopefully once we get going or maybe this is the start of that, where we can have a good 20-game span. Then all of a sudden we're right back in it." Ian Desmond is doing his part, batting .404 with 12 RBIs during a career-high 15-game hitting streak. He's been particularly impressive over the last five games, going 11 for 18 with eight RBIs after getting four hits and plating a run Thursday.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Celtics could target Rudy Gay as backup plan

Ex-NFL RB Ahman Green arrested on suspicion of child abuse

Cam Newton throws, will be ‘100 percent’ for training camp

Timberwolves reportedly still trying to trade Ricky Rubio

Jaylen Brown looks like reason Celtics didn’t trade for Jimmy Butler

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Myles Turner opens up about Paul George wanting to leave Pacers

UFC fighter pokes fun at herself after defecating during match

D’Angelo Russell downplays Magic Johnson’s ‘irrelevant’ criticism

Brent Musburger defends praising Katherine Webb for being ‘beautiful’

Saints' Cam Jordan: We believe we can win Super Bowl ‘now’

DA fighting to have Hernandez murder conviction reinstated

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Kicking it: David Villa isn't interested in a 'retirement tour'

Box Score 6/23: Philly continues to trust the process

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

Best of Yardbarker: Diana Taurasi makes history

The 'Finest running back from America’s Finest City' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Billy King Award for worst trade

Players who need to turn around their season to save their teams

Three Up, Three Down: Flouting the written and unwritten rules of baseball

Sports & Politics Intersect: Washington gets a rare win

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker