The Cleveland Indians‘ Justin Masterson came into the season with contract talks broken off between the club and an eye towards having a spectacular 2014 MLB season. Things have not gone as planned for the Tribe’s ace as he is going through a very inconsistent season. While this is hurting the team’s chances of staying in the playoff race, it is also hurting his chances of getting a contract he probably thinks he deserves.
Masterson brought his ace-stuff to the mound in the Indians’ thrilling 5-3 extra-inning victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field on Thursday. Nick Swisher gave the home fans something to cheer about with a two-out walk-off grand slam off of Angels’ reliever Ernesto Frieri in the bottom of the 10th. Masterson had a no decision, but he tossed seven strong innings, allowed only one run on four hits and three walks and struck out five batters. This game, however, has not been typical for Masterson, which is evident by his 4.75 ERA.
Masterson has not pitched like a front-line starter so far this season, and if the Indians have any chance of making the playoffs, he will need to find the form he had against the Angels.
His up-and-down season has consisted of being rocked by the Boston Red Sox last week when he allowed five runs in two innings. Prior to that rough outing, Masterson looked to be on track as he posted three straight solid and more recognizable performances where he totaled a 1.72 ERA.
Masterson now must put up incredible numbers from here on out or he can kiss a big-time deal goodbye. It is not out of the question for him to do that, but two or three bad starts will certainly put that out of the equation.