Justin Masterson continues to be the most surprising starter in one of the most surprising rotations in the majors.
On Tuesday night against Kansas City, the Indians right-hander pitched into the seventh inning, leading Cleveland to a 9-4 victory.
Masterson has started five games this season and won them all. He's more than four months ahead of his pace of last year, when he was a disappointing 6-13. Last year, Masterson didn't earn his fifth win until Aug. 26, in his 26th start of the season.
This year he has anchored a rotation that has been the biggest strength in the Indians' march to the top of the American League Central standings.
Manager Manny Acta points to Masterson's consistency in the strike zone, and his efficiency and rapidity in correcting mechanical flaws in his delivery, whenever they crop up during the course of a game. A good example of that came in the middle innings of Tuesday's game.
After retiring the first 10 batters he faced to start the game, Masterson in the fourth inning gave up four hits in a row, and two runs. But he was able to get back into a rhythm almost immediately.
Starting with the last out of the fourth inning, Masterson retired nine of the next 12 batters he faced before being removed from the game. In his five starts this season, he has been very good at limiting the damage, pitching out of jams and staying away from big innings.
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