OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 22: Michael Brantley #23 of the Cleveland Indians catches a ball hit by Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the Oakland Athletics in the fifth inning at O.co Coliseum on April 22, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Who would have thought that Justin Masterson would be worst starter in the rotation through 14 games?
Justin's final line doesn't look that bad (5. IP, 6 H, 4 ER); if he had done this against the Rangers or Tigers, I don't think anyone would say too much about it. But this line came against Oakland, a lineup averaging about 3 runs a game and ranking dead last in just about every meaningful offensive category. The obvious question is that, after having poor outings against Seattle and Oakland, what's going to happen when he faces a good lineup?
Masterson's mechanics seem to be off kilter, and the weird thing is that recently they've started out decent and regressed as the game has gone on. Today he walked 6 batters, and had to be pulled after five innings because of his pitch count. Hopefully this is something that can be worked out over a couple bullpen session, because the Indians are going to be needing Good Masterson as the schedule gets tougher.
The Tribe offense was held to one run, something that wasn't completely surprising. Manny Acta emptied his bench on this last day of the road trip, so missing was Carlos Santana and Shelley Duncan, not to mention Asdrubal Cabrera. I understand why Santana got the day off today (with the day off tomorrow, he'll be getting two days of rest), but I'm not sure why Duncan needed to sit, especially with the other key guys already sitting or away from the club. Tyson Ross, who has given the Indians some trouble before, pitched into the seventh inning, managing to allow one run despite walking 5 batters. The Indians have been very proficient at drawing walks so far this season, which is a good sign; even though their team batting average ranks 10th in the AL, their OBP is 3rd. But today, they couldn't get the big hit with runners on base.
Nick Hagadone gave up a run in the eighth after Jason Kipnis couldn't throw out Eric Sorgard from shallow right field; Sorgard stole second, and scored on Cliff Pennington's single. Hagadone will likely go back to Columbus when Asdrubal Cabrera returns to the club, but today's outing aside, he's looked very good.