Blog Entry

Indians pick Masterson for opening day duty

Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:08 pm
Justin Masterson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

In somewhat of a surprise, the Indians have named right-hander Justin Masterson on opening day against the Blue Jays on April 5, instead of Ubaldo Jimenez, manager Manny Acta told reporters on Friday.

"It wasn't a tough call at all," Acta told reporters, including Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. "Everyone knew this guy was our horse last year and Ubaldo wasn't on top of his game. Justin wasn't our opening-day starter last year and he eded up being our No. 1. That's just one date. After the season starts rolling over, everyone is No. 1 on their day."

Jimenez will be the second pitcher in the rotation, while the last three spots will be occupied by Josh Tomlin, Derek Lowe and another pitcher, with that order to be determined later in camp. Kevin Slowey, Jon Garland, David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez and Zach McAllister are battling for the fifth spot in the team's rotation.

The Indians acquired Jimenez from the Rockies at the trade deadline last year, but he didn't quite live up to expectations. After finishing third in the Cy Young voting in 2010, he went 10-13 with a 4.68 ERA overall in 2011, and 4-4 witha  5.10 ERA in 11 starts for the Indians.

Masterson, on the other hand, was 12-10 with a 3.21 ERA in 33 starts and 34 appearances for the Indians last season.

Last year Fausto Carmona (or, Roberto Hernandez) started the season for Cleveland, allowing 10 earned runs in three innings in a loss to the White Sox. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was the most runs ever allowed by a starting pitcher who threw no more than three innings in his team's first game of the season.

"I hope I can do a little better than what Rob did last year," Masterson told reporters (again, via the Plain Dealer.) "It's an honor to be out there. I want to set the tone for the team, the game and for the season."

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Since: Mar 17, 2010
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:07 pm

Indians pick Masterson for opening day duty

There is little doubt in my mind Ubaldo suffered a mental collapse after his remarkable 2010 start. That run may have been the worst thing to happen to him. Once he "lost" the magic he has been on a course of over compensation ever since. There may be evidence of physical fatigue as well. During the 2010 season Ubaldo had the highest avg. fastball over the course of a game than any other pitcher. He literally was throwing 100-110% from start to finish, and that has to have taken a toll on his arm and body. If he can mentally get over the "collapse" from last year and stop trying to win a game with every pitch i think he can right himself. Someone needs to slow him down and just tell him to pitch ~ This kid needs a good pitching coach and a good catcher would help. He has electric stuff, but needs help calling a game.  If he can learn to stay within himself AND pace himself he will turn it back around. Scott Radinsky will need to get Ubaldo out of his head, but I have a feeling bench coach Sandy Alomar will have a hand in this project.

Since: Apr 26, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 2:15 pm

Indians pick Masterson for opening day duty

I didn't blame Boston for trading Masterson when they did.  V.Mart was killing the ball and Varitek was a dead man at the plate at the time.  With the state of their current rotation however, and the fact that they only got 183 games out of Martinez, I bet they wish they had him back!

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:15 pm

Indians pick Masterson for opening day duty

Maybe we can "surprise" some folks and win 75 games this year!

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