It has been a bumpy month of September for Cleveland Indians pitcher Justin Masterson.
Despite being the club’s most dominant starting pitcher — by a long shot — Masterson hasn’t started a game for Cleveland since September 2nd when he left his start just five batters in, with what would later be called a strained oblique. Indians manager Terry Francona has remained rather quiet about the entire situation, but he will be the first to tell you that Masterson needs to be lights out for the Indians this MLB postseason.
After Francona decided to use Masterson on Thursday, the Indians’ manager spoke the truth about the team’s ace:
“We just need to get him as many outings as we can that make sense, while winning and managing the game. He can be a big part of what we’re doing.”
Obviously, Francona would much rather have Masterson starting for his Indians, but he truly is making the best of the less-than-ideal situation. However, the biggest issue for Cleveland is the fact that its starting rotation has been full of question marks this season. Names like Scott Kazmir, Ubaldo Jimenez and Cory Kluber now headline the Indians’ starting rotation — that doesn’t exactly spell World Series.
Therefore, the Indians can’t afford to have Masterson slump as a reliever.