Justin Masterson has seen a quick and unfortunate fall during the 2014 season. He is still a quality pitcher, but his ineffectiveness and struggles with a knee injury suddenly have him move far away from the same conversation as fellow free agents to-be like Jon Lester and James Shields.
The news came out this week that Masterson has been pitching through a knee injury all season. That may or may not explain his struggles so far: through 17 starts Masterson is 4-5 with a 5.03 ERA, an 8.2 K/9 mark that is down slightly from last season, and a 1.54 WHIP.
Some peripherals suggest that things will get better for Masterson, namely his 3.91 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). Then again, it is hard to imagine any Indians’ pitcher having anything other than bad luck with that horrible defense behind them.
With the Indians now monitoring Masterson’s injury, the team believes he should be ready to re-join his rotation this coming week after a successful bullpen session. According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
They shut him down for two days, during which he rehabbed the knee and took anti-inflammatory medication.
“The benefit of having those two days is that you know you have two days that you can spend just crushing the knee as far as therapy, movement, icing and stimulation,” said Masterson. “It seems like two days is a short amount of time, but it really gives you an opportunity to do a lot of things with the knee.”
With some steps in place to work on and monitor the knee, the Indians will hope that Masterson starts to look like himself in his coming starts.