CLEVELAND — Indians starter Justin Masterson will miss his next start due to a strained left oblique muscle. How much longer he misses is anyone’s guess.
“The hope would be it’s not the rest of the season,” manager Terry Francona said Tuesday.
Masterson will be replaced Saturday by Corey Kluber, who is coming off the disabled list after spraining a finger on his throwing hand. Francona would not speculate what would happen beyond the next start, but the Indians official Twitter account said he’d miss two starts.
Obliques can be tricky, with some lasting as long as a month.
Masterson becomes the fourth member of the rotation to miss time with an injury. Kluber and Zak McAllister had finger issues, Masterson the oblique and Brett Myers missed almost the entire season with an elbow issue.
“It happens,” Francona said. “It’s unfortunate because so much of how you do is based on pitching.”
But Francona then pointed out that even with the injuries the pitching staff has held its own. And it wasn’t just spin.
The Indians team ERA in August was 3.77, 12th best in baseball. In July it was 3.43. Since the All-Star Game the team ERA of 3.33 is fifth best in baseball.
But the Indians have gone 21-21 in that time because the bats have gone silent. Since the All-Star break, the Indians are hitting .237, 25th in baseball.
Clearly the Indians will miss Masterson, but just as clearly they have shown they can still pitch effectively despite injuries to other starters.