Indians what to watch: Wild west?
JUN 24, 2014 4:30p ET
It's not breaking news that Justin Masterson's season has been a rollercoaster. Just when you think the right-hander has things solved and is returning to the form he has displayed the past two years, when he made the American League All-Star team, there are an outing or two where he struggles.
A good example of that have been his fast five starts. Masterson has allowed two runs or less in four of them but there was the June 13 outing at Boston where he went just two innings, the shortest non-weather game of his career, and gave up five runs. Going into tonight's game against Arizona, Masterson is 4-5 with a 4.75 ERA. His ERA is fourth highest in the American League of pitchers who have made 15 or more starts.
"It's a battle. And you know, whenever you get into some bad habits, you gotta break them," Masterson said. "That's the thing; you let it roll for a little bit and it's just breaking those habits. And that's what this is: breaking a few of the bad habits we've gotten in to. I don't necessarily know what they are, but you go back to what makes you, you."
Last Thursday Masterson threw a season-high 116 pitches and gave up one run on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. This is his 17th start in an interleague game where he is 5-5 with a 2.71 ERA.
The Indians begin an eight-game road trip with a quick two-game set against the Diamondbacks. The Tribe is 14-24 away from Progressive Field but were 5-5 on their recent road trip. Arizona, who has lost nine of its last 12, has the worst home mark in the Majors at 14-29.
We'll be focusing on that as well as other storyling during Indians Live and Tuesday's game:
Brantley moving up: Michael Brantley, who is sixth in A.L. outfield voting for the All-Star Game, leads outfielders with a .325 batting average. He is second in runs scored (49), fifth in RBI (49) and seventh in home runs (11). Over his last 34 games dating to May 14, Brantley is batting .376 (50 of 133) with four home runs, 11 doubles and 19 RBI.
Scoring position problems: Cleveland was 3 for 11 on Sunday with runners in scoring position, which broke a string of nine straight games where they had one hit or less. During the past 10 games they are 10 of 70 and were just 8 of 46 on their six-game homestand.
Gomes getting them: Yan Gomes has thrown out five of the past six runners who have attempted to steal and has thrown out 34 percent on the season (17 of 50).
Diamondbacks starter: Wade Miley (3-6, 4.62) has gone winless over his past eight starts but is 5-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 10 Interleague starts.
Miley vs. Indians: Michael Bourn 1-3
Goldschmidt remains a force: Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has reached base safely in 16 straight games, hitting .333 (17 for 51) with five doubles, four home runs, eight RBI, 17 walks and a .500 on-base percentage
Don't test them: Arizona outfielders have totaled 22 assists this season, which is the most in baseball.
Walking wounded: The Diamondbacks have nine players on the disabled list (five pitchers, four hitters) that collectively have won 222 games and hit 403 home runs with 1,452 RBI and a .261 batting average.