Cleveland Indians new manager Terry Francona has announced who will take the mound for the team on Opening Day and it should be a surprise to no one.
Starting pitcher Just Masterson gets the nod and the Indians can think of no one better who deserves the honor this season. This is the second consecutive Opening Day Masterson will be on the mound for as he hopes he can repeat his success from last year.
The right-hander allowed only one earned run on two hits in eight solid innings against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field. Unfortunately, the great performance was spoiled as Cleveland fell 7-4 in extra innings. The Indians will get a shot at redemption to start out the 2013 Major League Baseball season as they will take on the Blue Jays in Toronto on April 2.
The 27-year-old had an up and down season in 2012, but he was still the best pitcher in one of the worst starting rotations in all of baseball. However, Cleveland has received help at several different positions thanks to solid off-season acquisitions. This means the Indians should be a far better team this year, but they can only go as far as their starting pitching will take them.
Masterson posted an 11-15 record with a 4.93 earned run average, 1.45 WHIP and 159 strikeouts in 34 starts last year. He was the only pitcher to go over 200 innings with Ubaldo Jimenz a close second with 176 2/3 innings. There is no question the rotation must step up big for Cleveland to have success and it all starts at the top with the team’s ace. Masterson will have to give another gutsy performance on Opening Day and hopefully everything will fall into place from there.