Masterson's 'effectively wild' performance gets the job done for Tribe
JUN 19, 2014 8:06p ET
CLEVELAND -- If you want a textbook illustration of effectively wild, Justin Masterson's outing on effort would qualify.
The right-hander, who has battled control problems at times this season, went seven innings and allowed only one run on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. He got a no-decision as the Indians would rally for a 5-3 win over the Angels in 10 innings.
Masterson's 116 pitches (66 strikes) were a season high. Of the 26 batters he faced, Masterson got first-pitch strikes on only seven and retired the side in order once.
"It got the job done," Masterson said. "Just a battle the whole time for everyone. I've always said there would be games where I would walk a lot of guys but you feel in your mind you can get it back anytime you want to.
"As we kind of looked at it (after he left the game), the boys were like, 'hey, you were more aggressive. And we wanted to be more aggressive. It wasn't always pretty, but again, it seemed to be better as the game went on. That's where we want to be able to finish. Be able to start and also finish."
The only run Masterson allowed came in the second when Erick Aybar was hit by a pitch and then scored with two outs on a wild pitch. However his defense came up huge, as the Indians were able to turn a couple double plays to take the Angels out of potential rallies.
"He kind of was in and out with his command," Terry Francona said. "Towards the middle innings to the end he settled in and started throwing strikes much better."
Last Friday in Boston, Masterson had the shortest outing of his career uninterrupted by rain or injury when he went only two innings. Masterson gave up five runs, three hits and walked four. In the two starts previous to that one, he allowed only two earned runs in 12 2/3 innings and walked just six.
Coming into Thursday, Masterson and pitching coach Mickey Callaway made some adjustments that were effective.
"Our goal was to just try to let it eat and get the arm up," said Masterson, referring to the ball in the strike zone. "It led to moments of yanking some balls and stuff like that. But in the overall sense, we tried to get into a decent rhythm and (did) for the most part."
Whether Masterson can regain some consistency over the rest of the season remains to be seen. He lowered his ERA to 4.75 but that is the third-highest in the American League for pitchers with 15 starts or more. There have been two instances this season where Masterson (4-5) has allowed two earned runs or less in consecutive starts only to allow five or more the next time out.
"It's a battle. I mean, I don't always put it on everything that took place at the tail end of last year, but there's probably something to that. 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."
FIRST WIN FOR CROCKETT: Kyle Crockett worked only one-third of an inning but got his first Major League win after the Tribe rallied. After the Angels took a 5-3 lead on an Albert Pujols two-run single, the left-hander came in and got Josh Hamilton to fly out.
Crockett, who was selected in the fourth round last year, was the first member of his draft class to make it to the Majors.
"It was incredible. Kind of came in there and snagged it facing one batter," Crockett said. "I was hoping someone would come up and get a clutch hit. Swisher got behind in the count but he stepped up and got a big hit."
It has been a good week for Crockett. Besides Thursday's win he won a bet with Scott Atchison Tuesday night when the University of Virginia beat TCU in the College World Series. Atchison had to wear a chicken outfit during batting practice on Wednesday.
Crockett said they made the bet the day before the game but due to the heat and humidity he spared Atchison from having to wear the head.