(SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Masterson tries to continue his mastery of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Monday when the Cleveland Indians open a three-game series against them at Angel Stadium.
Masterson has faced the Halos 12 times (9 starts) and is a perfect 4-0 against them with a 2.45 ERA.
The sinkerballer, though, is still searching for his first win this season, as he has pitched to a 4.50 ERA in five starts without recording a decision, while also dealing with diminished velocity. Masterson did not get a decision on Wednesday against Kansas City, allowing three runs (2 earned) and eight hits in 6 1/3 frames of his team's 5-3 win.
Cleveland is 3-2 in Masterson's five starts this season.
"I've always believed in the person -- in Masty -- since the day I've met him," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "I have so much confidence in his ability to win, or to compete. I always believe in him. That's why, maybe (his velocity) been a topic of conversation, but I've never brought it up."
Cleveland limps into Monday's opener after getting swept by the San Francisco Giants over the weekend, culminating with a 4-1 loss on Sunday.
Yan Gomes homered for the Indians, who saw starter Danny Salazar allow one run on five hits over seven innings while striking out eight and walking one. Cody Allen (2-1) threw 1 1/3 innings and suffered the loss.
"We have to start making better adjustments during the game and make it harder for guys to get us out," said Francona.
Los Angeles also enters on a sour note after dropping the final two games in its three-game set with the New York Yankees, including a 3-2 setback in Sunday's finale.
David Freese homered in the loss, as the Angels now have a league-high 36 longballs on the season. They've also hit eight in their last five games.
That could be good news for lefty Tyler Skaggs, who will be shooting for his third win of the season. Skaggs beat the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, holding them to a pair of runs and three hits in seven innings. He did walk four batters, but improved to 2-0, while lowering his ERA to 3.21.
Cleveland was 4-2 versus the Angels last season.