Cleveland Indians ace, Justin Masterson, continued to struggle as the woes transpired into Monday night’s game against the New York Yankees. Masterson, in his last three starts versus New York, registered a 3-0 record with a 0.38 earned run average. Unfortunately, this recent success versus the Yankees ceased to exist.

Instead, fans witnessed the lost, confused starting pitcher that appeared to have misplaced his mojo. Previously, Masterson missed a start due to a sore knee, but recently, manager Terry Francona attributed the right hander’s command as the major issue. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway advised the veteran to shorten his pitching stride, but clearly to no success.

Disappointingly, Justin Masterson survived just two innings, the second occurrence in his last four starts. He couldn’t even catch a break against left-handed batters. Last night, all seven lefties in the Yankees lineup accounted for all six hits against Masterson. In fact, hitters this year lining up on the left side of the plate accumulated a .315 batting average against the Indians ace while righties were batting just .216.

Personally, as much as I hope and root for the success of Masterson, this discouraging season couldn’t have happened at a better time. This off-season, Cleveland attempted to re-sign the Jamaican-born pitcher, but neither side conceded to finalize a deal. Masterson sought a multiyear contract roughly worth $17 million annually and the Indians offered a two year deal around $13 million annually. Needless to say, negotiations broke off before Opening Day and the fan base grew upset.

Looking back on it, those same fans may not be pouting any more. As of right now, Justin Masterson doesn’t look like a $17 million per season pitcher, but hopefully, the San Diego State product gets healthy and steps his game up. Despite only recording seven quality starts in 19 attempts, the second half of the 2014 campaign remains. I remain a Masterson supporter and will continue to have faith in him to figure it out, whatever it is.

-Max Gold

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