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Game 80: Indians 8, Reds 2

Masterson, who grew up in SW Ohio, dominated his hometown team for his first victory in over two months.
Masterson, who grew up in SW Ohio, dominated his hometown team for his first victory in over two months.

 

Justin Masterson had been toiling for over two months without a win despite compiling seven quality starts in that span. The Indians just haven't scored any runs behind him; in eight starts in May and June, the offense scored three runs or less. But in his first start in July, Masterson finally got some run support. The Tribe offense blitzed Bronson Arroyo for eight runs, and Justin could finally pitch with a comfortable lead.

Bronson Arroyo has never been a flamethrower, but in this game his fastball was sitting in the mid-80s, and his curve was well below hitting speed. He's been fighting a back injury, and it's likely the back has affected his performance. He came into the game leading the league in home runs allowed, and afterwards he held a commanding lead.

His first gopher ball was to Grady Sizemore in the second. He started Grady off with two of his loopy curves, and got ahead 0-2. Then for some reason he threw a fastball to Grady, and left it over the middle of the plate. Sizemore jumped on the tactical and physical mistake, driving the ball out to right-center, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.

The onslaught continued in the third inning. Asdrubal Cabrera continued his dominance of the Reds, swatting a two-run shot. Then Carlos Santana followed to give the Indians their first back-to-back homers since April. The Indians chased Arroyo in the fifth with four more runs, two of which scored after he left.

Unfortunately, during that four-run fifth, the Indians lost another outfielder to injury. Travis Buck pulled his right hamstring while rounding first base after hitting a two-run single, and had to leave the game. Buck had finally gotten going at the plate, and now he may have to go on the Disabled List. He'll be evaluated tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Justin Masterson cruised through the game, his only blemish a solo homer by LGFT Brandon Phillips in the fourth. He went eight easy innings in one of baseball's more hitting-friendly parks and against one of the NL's best lineups.  His line: 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 SO, 1 BB, 4 H. The Indians were able to rest all their main relievers a second straight day, which is important since Chris Perez is away from the team attending his grandmother's funeral.

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via www.fangraphs.com

 

Highest WPA Lowest WPA
Masterson .155 Brantley -.043
A. Cabrera .150 Chisenhall -.032
Sizemore .145 Marson -.030