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June 3, 2014

What You Need to Know

Masterson Makes an Adjustment

by Daniel Rathman


The Monday Takeaway
The Red Sox lost 10 in a row. Then they won seven straight. On Monday, they had a chance to make it eight—but an old friend stood in the way. And Justin Masterson had no intention of letting his first professional employer earn its longest winning streak in two years.

A second-round pick by the Red Sox in 2006, Masterson served primarily in relief while in Boston before moving to the rotation when the Indians acquired him in 2009. The right-hander quickly morphed into a reliable starter, and he posted a 3.45 ERA and 3.38 FIP in 193 innings last year. But at age 29, Masterson has seen his velocity erode and his control elude him—to the tune of a career-worst 10.8 percent walk rate—in an ongoing contract year.

Masterson struggled to find the strike zone early in last night’s ballgame, too, issuing four walks in the first three innings and needing 49 pitches to record his first six outs. But the Kingston, Jamaica native worked his way out of those jams by striking out Jonny Gomes with the bases loaded in the opening frame and coaxing a double-play ball from A.J. Pierzynski to end the top of the third.

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