Justin Masterson was born in Jamaica, went to high school in Ohio and to college in both California and Indiana. After a trade from the Red Sox, Masterson has had four solid seasons as a starter. Well, three solid and one bad...or one great, one good and two bad...or maybe one okay and one bad. Let's just say he's been a little up and down, with his best two years in 2011 and 2013 and some average to not so good in 12 and 14. fWAR likes him better than bWAR, so your perception of him might vary and might be right based upon whose WAR you like the best.
This season, the big right-hander has bracketed two good starts around two really crappy ones, battling control issues in the middle two not-so-happy starts. Last time out against Toronto, however, Masterson struck out 9 and walked only two in six plus innings of work.
With a nearly one and one half run difference in ERA, Masterson has been much better pitching at home than on the road. Teams sport a wOBA of .294 against him at home and a .333 mark when he pitches on the road. Lefties, as you would expect, have much more luck: .344 wOBA (.417 slugging) vs just a .271 wOBA (.291 slugging) by righties. Hmm, feels like six hits a piece for Aoki and Dyson tonight, with four Alex Gordon home runs....
Masterson has made 14 career starts (plus 5 more relief appearances) against the Royals, but has racked up just 88 career innings against them. Kansas City sports a career triple slash of .289/.361/.397 against Justin: those numbers spanning 387 plate appearances.
Here are the current Royals who have faced the Indians' hurler and how they fared:
No, I have no explanation for Danny Valencia's numbers other than anyone can have a good 16 at-bats.
In pretty much all situations, Masterson is going to show a lot of fastballs to left-handers and rely more on his sinker and slider against the right-handers. The very few change-ups that Masterson offers, will be thrown to lefties.
Early on this year, Justin has some velocity (i.e. lack thereof) issues. Make of it what you wish.
The Royals will counter tonight with Jason Vargas, who has discovered the secret to successful pitching: never let any runner you put on base score while appeasing the baseball gods by offering up an occasional solo home run. So simple, it just might work!
Game Thread will be up later this afternoon. Remember that pesky time zone adjustment. Get home early, get your TV tray set up and have your Mom get the hot pockets going early.