Justin Masterson is 0-3 in his past four starts with a 4.78 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.
.He has not been as effective, but the Cleveland Indians offense isn’t being as helpful either. In his first six starts the Tribe averaged 6.3 runs. In his past five starts they’ve averaged just 1.6 runs. No matter how well you pitch, it’s hard to win when your team’s bats go silent.
In those past four starts, two have been stinkers. Both against Tampa Bay. He allowed five runs in 5-2/3 innings on May 12th and seven runs (six earned) in five innings on May 29th. He other two starts he gave up a combined three runs over 15-2/3 innings.
Two bad starts against a team that has his number (he had a 5.40 ERA against them last year, 7.71 in 2009, 5.65 in 2008) doesn’t take away from the season he is having. He has had quality starts in each of his other nine starts, and has allowed two or fewer runs in eight of them.
Masterson hasn’t had the best luck in May, as evidenced by his .331 BABIP for the month. It was .255 in April. This month is likely just a way of evening things out. It will likely be somewhere around .300 by season’s end.
While it’s not at the panic stage, fantasy owners should be a little concerned about his walk rate. Masterson had 13 walks in his first seven starts over 47 innings (2.49 BB/9) and 13 in his past four starts over 26-1/3 innings (4.44 BB/9). Control has been an issue for Masterson in the past so it’s something to keep an eye on.
I wouldn’t blame you if you held him out of tonight’s game against Texas. They certainly have the ability to add to make his numbers continue to rise. There is no need for widespread panic though (even if the Rangers light him up). He has emerged as a reliable fantasy option and should continue to be. He just set the bar so high for himself with the way he started the season.
If his owners are beginning to panic a bit, you could possibly get him at a discount. If he struggles tonight, it may be worth an inquiry.
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