Tribe starter Corey Kluber is riding the coattails of a historically excellent month, and he'll look to continue that dominance as his team goes for consecutive series sweeps in Wednesday's finale against the Red Sox.
In six May starts, the Indians right-hander turned in a sparkling 2.09 ERA, allowing no more than three runs while lasting at least 6 2/3 innings in each of his starts. Kluber's 60 strikeouts were the most of any Indians pitcher since Dennis Eckersley in 1976, and he joined Yu Darvish as the only player to post that single-month strikeout total in the last 10 seasons.
"He can make the ball go both ways," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He can cut it. He's got a slider, changeup. He throws both sides of the plate, he's got power, and it's late movement. It's real hard to kind of distinguish."
Kluber has been just as stellar at Progressive Field, with a 3-1 record to go with his 2.61 ERA and 1.14 WHIP when pitching at home. In his last meeting with the Red Sox, which came in May 2013, the 28-year-old held his opponents to one run over 6 2/3 innings while striking out 10 at Fenway Park.
With a sinker, cutter, slider and changeup at his disposal, Kluber has averaged 10.69 strikeouts per nine innings this season and issued just 2.03 walks per nine.
"He makes a lot of quality pitches. But it's not like he's getting deep in the counts where he's throwing stuff in the dirt trying to get guys to chase. He just has really good stuff," Tribe reliever Cody Allen said. "You're either going to get a lot of weak contact or swing-miss. You don't see a lot of balls hit hard off of him."
The Red Sox, meanwhile, will look to avoid dropping three straight after coming into the series on a seven-game winning streak.
Brandon Workman -- fresh off receiving a six-game suspension which he appealed -- will take the hill for Boston. The righty was suspended for throwing a pitch behind Evan Longoria in a game against the Rays on May 30 after warnings had been issued to both sides.
Not much seems to rattle Workman, so manager John Farrell doesn't think the pending appeal of his suspension will impact the way he pitches.
"I don't think so," Farrell said. "The one thing we've come to know about Brandon is that high-leverage, high-pressure, high-focal situations he's pitched in, he's pitched very effectively and he's controlled his emotions in that. We don't expect that to be any different [Wednesday]."
Workman kept the Red Sox in both games he's pitched since replacing the injured Felix Doubront in the rotation, posting a 4.35 ERA in a pair of no-decisions.
Indians: Santana should return Friday
• Carlos Santana, who has served as both third baseman and backup catcher for the Tribe this season, spent the past week on the seven-day concussion disabled list due to headaches and dizziness. Although he will be eligible for activation on Wednesday, the team expects the 28-year-old hitter to remain sidelined until Friday.
"He's going to go through all of a normal, basic day, plus he ran the bases," Francona said Tuesday. "He'll do the same thing [Wednesday], we'll reevaluate him on Thursday before the [road] trip, and potentially he could be activated on Friday. He still has to pass these hurdles, but he's doing an outstanding job of it."
Santana has hit .159/.327/.301 in 176 at-bats this season.
Red Sox: Drew will play Wednesday
• Stephen Drew, still getting into game shape after not having a Spring Training, didn't start Tuesday, the day after he made his season debut. But the shortstop will play in Wednesday's finale.
Drew went 0-for-2 with a walk in his debut.
"It felt good," Drew said. "It's nothing new when you've got the same guys on the team, which really benefits all of us in that aspect. It felt good to get back out there with the guys and really good defensive-wise. I felt normal."
• The Indians are riding an eight-game winning streak at Progressive Field and have won five in a row overall. They are an American League-best 20-11 at home.
• Daniel Nava, who has played sparingly since returning to the Red Sox, is 2-for-4 lifetime against Kluber with a pair of RBIs. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski has the most experience of any Boston batter against Kluber, going 3-for-10 with a homer.
• Cleveland's rotation owns a 2.13 ERA through the last six games, recording 50 strikeouts to 10 walks.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.