The rejuvenation of right-hander Justin Masterson has coincided with, and contributed greatly to the Indians' fast start to the 2011 season. In his third start of the season Friday night, Masterson produced a near carbon copy of his first two starts, helping to lead the Indians to an 8-2 win over Baltimore.
Masterson pitched seven strong innings, giving up one run. In two of his three starts this season, Masterson has pitched seven innings and allowed one run. In his other start, he pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed one run.
All three of those starts have been wins. Masterson is 3-0, with a 1.33 ERA. Last year, when he had a record of 6-13, Masterson didn't win his third game until July 1.
Masterson has been the best pitcher in an Indians' starting rotation that has been unexpectedly productive. The only starter without a win is No. 1 starter Fausto Carmona, who is 0-2, but has pitched well in two of his three starts.
No. 2 starter Carlos Carrasco is 1-1, but the bottom three pitchers in the rotation have been unbeatable. No. 3 starter Masterson, No. 4 starter Josh Tomlin, and No. 5 starter Mitch Talbot are a combined 6-0, with a 1.52 ERA.
With the exception of Carmona, the other four starters are all either in their first or second years as members of a major league starting rotation. In the first two weeks of the season, all of them have exceeded expectations, and that has fueled the Indians' hot start, during which they have won nine of their first 13 games.
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