Unlike Thursday's series opener between the Indians and Red Sox, which had a total of 15 runs scored on 23 hits, Friday's game at Fenway Park could be quite the pitchers' duel.
Justin Masterson will be on the hill for Cleveland, while John Lackey toes the rubber for Boston.
The Indians right-hander has won three straight games and was named the American League Player of the Week from May 13-19 after notching two wins and 16 scoreless innings. He also had 20 strikeouts, while issuing just five walks in those two games.
In Sunday's outing against the Mariners, he allowed just three hits over seven innings, striking out a season-high 11 for his seventh win.
"He was using both sides of the plate. He was using the two-seamer, four-seamer, throwing the breaking ball to both sides of the plate," Indians manager Terry Francona said after the game. "He just kept going up, down, in, out and just worked ahead."
However, Masterson will have some tough competition in Lackey, who is coming off his best start of the season.
Lackey allowed just one run on one hit in six innings against the Twins on Sunday. Tallying five strikeouts in the game, Lackey improved to 2-4 and lowered his ERA to 3.31. A three-hour rain delay made manager John Farrell extra careful, choosing to have Lackey throw only 84 pitches.
"I definitely wanted to go at least another inning," said Lackey, who started the game with four perfect innings. "I was definitely frustrated not to keep going, but the bullpen came in and did a great job, and winning the game is really all that matters."
Lackey will face an improved Indians lineup Friday, with first baseman Nick Swisher expected to be activated in time for the contest. Currently on Major League Baseball's paternity list, Swisher and his wife, JoAnna, welcomed a daughter into the world on Tuesday.
"He'll be back [Friday] for the game," Francona said on Thursday. "That's one of those situations where I can't tell you how much we support what he's doing. We're missing him at the same time and can't wait for him to come back, but we completely support him and Jo. That's the way he's supposed to be."
Indians: Huff designated; Barnes recalled
Cleveland designated left-hander David Huff for assignment on Thursday and replaced him with left-hander Scott Barnes from Triple-A Columbus.
The Indians now have 10 days to trade or release Huff, who can also decline an outright assignment to the Minors, if he clears waivers.
"When Huffy came up, it was a chance to get a look at him and keep him in the organization," Francona said. "It let Nick [Hagadone] go down [to Triple-A] and pitch. You say it all the time in Spring Training, that you need more than your 11 or 12, and we meant that. So even though there's roster changes, it's not as in flux as it looks. It keeps guys in their roles."
Barnes tossed three innings in Thursday's game, allowing just two hits and striking out four for his first career save.
Red Sox: Ross expected to come off the DL Friday
Boston catcher David Ross is expected to be activated from the concussion disabled list on Friday after having a strong rehab outing on Thursday.
He had an RBI double and caught five innings for Franklin Morales during Double-A Portland's 8-4 win.
"He'll get examined tonight and probably tomorrow when he comes in and at that point we have the ability to make a roster decision tomorrow," Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Thursday's game against the Indians.
• Indians right-hander Brett Myers (on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow injury) allowed three runs on four hits and had four walks, one hit batsman and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings of a rehab start with Double-A Akron on Wednesday. General manager Chris Antonetti indicated that Myers would need at least one more Minor League rehab start.
• After missing the first 15 games of the season with an Achilles injury, Red Sox DH David Ortiz is hitting .351 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs.