Even when he’s struggling, Cleveland’s Justin Masterson can usually be relied on to pitch deep into games.
In his last start, the right-hander failed to provide even that.
Masterson tries to bounce back from one of this worst starts of the season by continuing his dominance over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night in Cleveland.
After tossing a six-hitter in a 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on June 30, Masterson (10-7, 3.78 ERA) gave up six runs and seven hits in a season-low 4 2-3 innings of a 7-0 home loss to Detroit on Friday.
“It’s always disappointing when you lose,” said Masterson, who was 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA in his previous six starts in Cleveland.
It was a rare inefficient outing for Masterson, who was named an All-Star on Saturday. He ranks eighth in the majors in innings pitched with 128 2-3, but needed 108 pitches to record 14 outs, failing to get through five innings for the first time in 19 starts.
A matchup with Toronto might help him rebound.
Since the start of last season, Masterson is 2-0 with an 0.86 ERA in three starts against the Blue Jays. He gave up a run and three hits in a 4-1 victory at Toronto on April 2.
He’ll look to take advantage of a Toronto lineup that has plated two runs or fewer in four of its last six games. The Blue Jays got eight hits in a series-opening 3-0 loss on Tuesday, but went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position to get shut out of the second time in three games.
“We outhit them, but we just didn’t outscore them,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “That’s what hurts. We had our chances, but we just couldn’t get that big hit.”
The Blue Jays (43-46) aren’t totally devoid of offense, however. Maicer Izturis is 11 of 22 during a six-game hitting streak, and Colby Rasmus is batting .360 (9 for 25) with two homers, four doubles and eight RBIs in his last seven contests.
Cleveland’s Michael Brantley has also been swinging a hot bat, going 6 for 10 with two home runs and six RBIs in his last three games. Nick Swisher is 13 for his last 34 (.382) with two doubles and two home runs, and has reached base multiple times in five straight games for Cleveland (47-43).
Brantley and Swisher could make things difficult for Esmil Rogers (3-4, 3.84), who gave up season highs of seven runs and 11 hits in an 11-1 loss to the Tigers on Thursday. He was 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his previous five starts.
The right-hander saw the Indians twice out of the bullpen in the first series of the season, surrendering an RBI single to Mark Reynolds his last time out.