What to watch: Getting back to basics for Masterson

Indians starter Justin Masterson is still working back into form following a knee injury.

Matt Kartozian/Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND — After making it five innings or more in only one of his past four starts, Justin Masterson is hoping that the extra day of rest yields better results.

Masterson got the extra day leading into Monday night’s start against the Yankees because the Indians had an off day last Thursday. Even though he went just three innings last Tuesday in Los Angeles, the right-hander did see some improvement.

"The last one was short but there were good signs compared to the one before where we would walk the house," Masterson said. "At least we were behind in the count but were able to fight back on some of the hitters."

Masterson said his right knee does feel better but the main control issues right now revolve around timing and getting out of the bad habits that developed when his knee was bothering him.


"We’re trying to get back to the basics of what makes me me and getting it as simple as it can be," Masterson said. "As Tony Gwynn once said, ‘Get in position and trust your hands’ and as a pitcher I’m not getting in position. Last few days have been great and I think that will allow us to do it."

Masterson comes into tonight’s game 4-5 with a 5.16 ERA, which is the second highest ERA in the American League for pitchers who have started 17 games or more. At Progressive Field though Masterson is 3-1 with a 3.54 ERA in eight starts. He has gone six innings or more in six of his last seven home starts. Masterson is 3-2 in his last five starts against the Yankees and has a 3.00 ERA.

The four-game series is important for both the Indians and Yankees. Cleveland is 2-1 on the current homestand and is six games behind Detroit while the Yankees are only 3 ½ behind Baltimore in the AL East.

Shane Greene will get his first major-league start after the Yankees dealt Vidal Nuno to Arizona on Sunday. Brandon McCarthy will make his debut in pinstripes on Wednesday.

Indians Live gets things going at 6:30 p.m.

Here are other things to watch in tonight’s game:

SANTANA’S SURGE: Carlos Santana has seven home runs and 15 RBI in the 27 games since being reinstated from the seven-day concussion disabled list on June 6. He had recorded six homers and 17 RBI in 50 games prior to that.

YANKEES OF NOTE: Brian Roberts has hit safely in four straight games, going 8 for 18 with four doubles, one triple and a RBI. … Jacoby Ellsbury has a hit in 14 of his last 17 games, going 21 for 68 during that span.

YANKEES VS. MASTERSON: Ichiro Suzuki 6-27; Derek Jeter 9-23; Brett Gardner 3-18; Mark Teixeira 2-17, HR; Brian Roberts 5-17; Jacoby Ellsbury 4-16; Kelly Johnson 1-8; Brendan Ryan 0-4; Carlos Beltran 2-4, HR; Brian McCann 2-4; Francisco Cervelli 0-1