Another Masterpiece for Masterson

On August 26, 2010 – in his 26th start of the year – Justin Masterson picked up his 5th win of the season.

On April 26, 2011 – in his 5th start of the year – Masterson picked up his 5th win of the season.

What a difference an offseason makes.

Masterston is just the 9th Tribe pitcher to win each of his first five starts in a season over the post 90 years, and the first since Cliff Lee in 2008 (six straight).

Rk Strk Start End ▾ Games W CG SHO IP ER SO ERA
1 Justin Masterson 2011-04-03 2011-04-26 5 5 0 0 33.0 8 22 2.18
2 Cliff Lee 2008-04-06 2008-05-07 6 6 1 1 44.2 4 39 0.81
3 Greg Swindell 1988-04-06 1988-05-02 6 6 3 1 51.2 12 30 2.09
4 Bob Lemon 1955-04-12 1955-04-30 5 5 4 0 43.1 10 23 2.08
5 Jim Bagby 1942-04-14 1942-05-02 5 5 4 1 44.0 10 8 2.05
6 Wes Ferrell 1932-04-13 1932-05-01 5 5 5 0 47.0 12 16 2.30
7 Duster Mails 1920-09-01 1920-09-27 7 7 6 2 55.0 12 23 1.96
8 Jim Bagby 1920-04-19 1920-05-20 8 8 8 0 73.0 20 13 2.47
9 Stan Coveleski 1920-04-14 1920-05-09 7 7 6 1 61.0 13 25 1.92
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/27/2011.

It’s certainly an impressive list to be on, but when you look at Mastersons stats compared to the others it’s clear that he owns a lot to his bullpen. Masterson is averaging just over six innings per start and is the only pitcher on the list without a complete game in his streak. He also has the highest era (not that there’s anything wrong with 2.18) since Wes Ferrell in 1932.

Let’s hope Masterson (and the bullpen) can keep it up.

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Opening Day notes

  • Carlos Santana was back in the lineup batting cleanup, a rare slot for a 24-year-old catcher. Since 1919 (as far back as baseball-reference game finder goes) only four other catchers have batted cleaning on opening day for the Tribe (Victor Martinez did so three times). And perhaps more noteworthy, Santana is the youngest catcher to bat cleanup in his team’s season opener since Hall of Famer Gary Carter in 1978.
  • Fausto Carmona‘s 10 earned runs allowed set a Tribe record for opening day (since 1919, of course). It’s also the most allowed by any pitcher in his team’s opener since Early Wynn, pitching for the Senators, allowed 10 to the Yankees in 1948. It was his final year in Washington before joining the Tribe. [Update: according to The Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN) Carmona was the first pitcher in baseball history to allow 10 runs in three innings or less on opening day.]
  • Jack Hannahan became just the 3rd Indians No. 9 hitter to go deep on opening day (since 1919) joining Ron Pruitt (1978 vs Royals) and Bob Lemon (1953 vs White Sox).