Indians fall to 43-45
This game fell out of the ugly tree, hitting almost branch as it splattered to the ground. The Indians only ended up losing by two runs, but that score doesn't begin to describe how hideous the contest was.
I guess you have to start with Justin Masterson. Mickey Callaway has been working with Masterson for the past several starts trying to iron out a very wrinkly delivery, but tonight it seemed as though no work had been done at all. Masterson had a decent first, pitching a round a leadoff single. At that point you thought that perhaps all that work was going to pay off in the form of a good start.
In the second inning the wheels were in the process of falling off, but a brilliant defensive play by Carlos Santana prolonged the agony for another inning. The first three Yankees of the inning reached, but thanks to Brian Roberts falling down while on his way to score the second run of the inning (and Santana's play), the Yankees were only limited to three runs. Masterson would allow four hits, walk two and hit a batter, but got to remain in the game when Santana made a incredible diving stop, turning what would be a bases-clearing double into an inning-ending double play.
Masterson had received a reprieve, but as it turned out no amount of defensive gems was going to keep him in the game. He walked Mark Teixeira to open the inning, then gave up single to Brian McCann. It was at this point that Terry Francona had seen enough, pulling Masterson right then and there. He brought in Kyle Crockett to try to keep the score 3-0, but Crockett would allow one more run to score on an Ichiro single, then later in the inning Jason Kipnis air-mailed an easy relay to first to botch a sure double play, allowing a fifth run to score.
The Indians would not allow another run to score, but unfortunately the offense wasn't up to the task. Shane Greene, who was making his first major-league start, retired the first fourteen batters he faced, and would end the night allowing just two runs on four hits. Greene only struck out two, but made use a power sinker (regularly clocked in the mid-90s) to induce weak contact. Nick Swisher broke up the perfect game (and shutout) with a solo homer in the fifth inning, and the following inning Asdrubal Cabrera would single home another run. But with two on and two outs in the sixth, Carlos Santana would fly out to end the threat.
The Tribe bullpen once again pitched well to keep the Indians within striking distance. Carlos Carrasco once again excelled in relief, tossing three shutout innings, and three other relievers (Scrabble, Pestano, and Axford) would throw scoreless innings. But the damage had been done. Yan Gomes took LGFT David Huff deep in the eighth, but that would be as close as they got. Dellin Betances (subbing for Dave Robertson) earned a two-inning save, allowing just one hit in the final two innings of the game.
The question that will asked over the next several days is "what the heck do you do with Justin Masterson?" We know that he's been battling a sore knee, and given how he's pitched lately, he's not helping the club by trying to pitch through it. Even if the knee isn't affecting his pitching, at least it affords the club an excuse to get him out of the rotation for a 2-3 weeks, make some rehab starts, and perhaps return to the rotation in late July ready to help the team make a late-season run.
Win Expectancy Chart
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