Coming off an embarrassing defensive display, the Cleveland Indians find themselves on the verge of matching the longest losing streak in franchise history.
If his recent efforts are any indication, Justin Masterson could be hard-pressed to stop the bleeding.With Masterson hoping to put a couple of awful outings behind him, Cleveland tries to avoid a 12th consecutive defeat Wednesday against the visiting Minnesota Twins.While the Indians (50-60) led 5-1 after six innings Tuesday, two errors in the seventh and another in the ninth ultimately did them in. Cleveland gave up three runs in each of those frames, falling 7-5."When it's going bad, that's what happens," manager Manny Acta said. "That's the way the ball bounces and it's not bouncing right in any way, shape or form."The Indians, who have been outscored 95-36 during their slide, previously dropped 12 in a row May 7-21, 1931. They've also lost seven straight to Minnesota (49-61) by a 62-21 margin.Averaging 6.8 runs during a 9-3 stretch, the Twins could be in for another big day against Masterson (7-10, 4.78 ERA).The right-hander has been knocked around over his last four starts, going 1-2 with an 8.44 ERA. He's been especially bad in his last two, giving up a career-high 10 runs over 5 2/3 innings during a 12-5 loss at Minnesota on July 28, then surrendering seven runs and a season-worst 10 hits over four innings Friday in a 10-2 loss in Detroit.Some of Masterson's struggles can be attributed to an inability to hit his spots. He walked four Friday and has issued 62, just three fewer than his total from last season."Justin struggled with his command," Acta said. "He was inconsistent with his release point, and when he pulls off, his sinker is flat. That's when left-handed hitters feast on him."Masterson could have his hands full with Ben Revere, who singled Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. The speedy right fielder is batting .378 with 17 runs scored and 13 RBIs over that stretch."It's all over Twitter, all over the news; people talk about it," Revere told the team's official website. "I'm aware of it, but a streak is a streak. I'm just going out there and having fun no matter what happens. ... It's been a blessing, it's been a fun ride. Hopefully I can keep it going."The pitcher Revere has faced the most in his career is Masterson, and he's gone 5 for 22 in their matchups.The Twins give the ball to Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.39), who's gone 1-4 with a 6.39 ERA over six starts. That lone victory came against the Indians on July 29 as he allowed one run and five hits over six innings of a 5-1 win.The left-hander wasn't nearly as sharp Friday in a 6-5, 10-inning road victory over Boston, yielding five runs -- two earned -- and a career high-tying 10 hits in six innings."It was a little bit of a dog fight today," he said. "I was fighting myself early. The ball was up today. It didn't have the same sink it had against Cleveland."Duensing is 5-1 with a 2.81 ERA over 14 appearances -- six starts -- against the Indians. He's had his way with Carlos Santana, holding him hitless in 10 at-bats. Michael Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo have also struggled, going 2 for 14 and 4 for 22.Masterson is 1-5 with a 4.32 ERA in 12 starts against the Twins.
Left-handed starters are 18-8 with a 3.76 ERA against the Indians this season. Brian Duensing allowed 5 hits and 1 run over 6 innings against the Indians on July 29. For his career, Duensing is 4-1 with a 3.08 in his 6 starts against the Indians.