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How do you turn a 62% strike rate into only 1 walk?
1) Blippy blips
Remember yesterday when I said that no team makes 162 Quality Starts?This is pretty much what I was talking about.
The interesting thing about Justin Masterson’s “terrible” start is that is wasn’t truly terrible: he had one real Inning of Crap™, and even that was essentially a bunch of singles strung together.Yes, giving up Reid Brignac’s first extra-base hit since the Johnson* Administration and a two-run single to Sam Fuld are not good results, but Brignac’s double was the only extra-base hit Masterson allowed and Fuld’s single came with two outs, meaning a little better pitch there and he’s out of the inning with 2 runs allowed.
No, the real problem was that Masterson flung the ball around like so many monkeys at the zoo with surplus excrement.He started but NINE of his twenty-seven batters with a first-pitch strike, threw a lame-assed 57.4% of his pitches for strikes, and walked four guys in 5 2/3 innings.To say he did not have his best command is to denigrate the very meaning of the word “command.”
ERAs of Cleveland pitchers used last night: 5.29, 6.17, 6.75.Where were we playing, Colorado?
1) Structural integrity
Carlos Carrasco returned from the DL and drew a lousy “Welcome Back” assignment, being paired up against David Price, who is much better than he is.Carrasco didn’t look all that impressive in his last rehab start, but I guess it was deemed that from a physical standpoint, there was nothing preventing his return to the majors.While you’d like a more ringing endorsement than, “Well, he’s probably not going to wince a lot,” the fact is that Carrasco was considered one of the five best (as defined by “ability to get major-league hitters out right now”) starters in the Cleveland organization at the beginning of the season, and no one (specifically Carrasco) has done anything to change that evaluation, so into the rotation he goes.
I still think Carrasco has a higher ceiling than most of his contemporaries, and I consider him one of our top THREE starters because I like his groundball/strikeout mix more than Josh Tomlin’s flyball/homer/mirrors mix, Alex White’s fastball/splitter mix, Mitch Talbot’s changeup/blunderbuss mix, or Jeanmar Gomez’ chuck-and-duck mix.He’s not a polished product, and while I understand that the priorities of a 23-12 team aren’t 100% in synch with that of a young, developing team, polishing Carrasco’s repertoire might be as important as anything else the Indians do this season, the ultimate win-win scenario.
FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Rays (20-15) 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 4 8 0 Indians (23-11) 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 5 10 0 W: C. Perez (2-1) L: Joel Peralta (1-2)
Not looking forward to tonight’s pitching matchup.
0) Administrative Note
Here is what I have to say about the Angels series: I really, really, really, really hate infield singles.Unless they’re by Asdrubal Cabrera.Those are awesome.
1) A predictable path has a predictable endpoint
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Josh Tomlin was cruising along until he left a pitch up and the batter hammered it for a solo homer.
So, as it turns out, you can’t actually stop me, but that’s not because you hadn’t heard it before.You heard it in his last start.You heard it in the start before that.Is it more disturbing than hearing “… and then Fausto went insane, walked two guys, and gave up three straight hits?”No, it is not.One run is one run.So Matt Joyce took him deep.Matt Joyce is hitting .356 and slugging .554.Stuff happens.
And except for an ill-advised “just one more guy” that led to “just one more run,” Josh Tomlin pitched a fine game, once again, for his umpteenth Quality Start in a row, extending his Indians franchise record by a subumpteenth.Through six full innings, Tomlin allowed only 5 hits and 2 runs, walking one and striking out three (all in the first three innings).He performed the same wondrous off-balancing act that has allowed him to post a 2.70 ERA through his first 7 starts, all with a very unlikely 0.85 WHIP that may defy belief but is wholly accurate as well.
Steve Buffum grew up a Cleveland sports fan in Akron, OH. He now works as a data cudgeller in Austin, TX with his wife and three children. He also writes a theoretically-popular regular column for www.TheClevelandFan.com and is on Twitter as @stevebuffum. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org