After 33 games the Boston Red Sox have finally made a change in their starting rotation. The widely ineffective group of starters have won just nine games and have contributed to the highest ERA in the American League. The move comes after another disappointing start from Justin Masterson that paved the way to a 9-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Masterson pitched just 2.1 innings and got rocked for six earned runs on six hits. Following his latest outing, the righty’s ERA has ballooned to 6.37. Masterson’s location was clearly off and the Athletics made him pay for it. After the game the pitcher acknowledged the problem. “I was trying to take a ball in, I’d leave it in the middle for a homer. Try to take it over [the outside corner], leave it down the middle. Everything just ran back to the middle. That’s not really what we’re trying to do.”
Following the loss, Red Sox manager John Farrell spoke with reporters:
“Clearly, he’s not right. Whether that’s physical, whether that’s delivery-wise, the ball’s not coming out of his hand as he’s shown for the better part of this year. We’ve got to gather some information overnight. We’ve got to check on him when he comes in in the morning, go through a full workup and get a better assessment of where things are.”
On Wednesday the team announced that Masterson, 30, would not be making his next scheduled start. The team will be placing him on the 15-day Disabled List with what Farrell described as “arm fatigue.” Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that knuckleballer Steven Wright, who pitched 5.2 innings last night, is a strong candidate to take his place in the rotation.
Following the news Masterson expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision. While he denies being hurt, he realizes something is not right and understands the Red Sox cannot afford to wait on him. Just last week the Red Sox fired pitching coach Juan Nieves. It should come as no surprise that management is now looking at the pitching staff to make necessary changes.
Masterson’s struggles are not new. Last year, in split time with Cleveland and St. Louis, the Jamaican born pitcher averaged a 5.88 ERA. He won just seven games in 25 starts, a far cry from 2013 when he was selected to the All-Star game and posted a 3.45 ERA. Masterson signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox in the offseason for $9.5 million.