Some All-Star break notes on the pitching staff

  • Justin Masterson is the 8th Indians pitcher (min 75 IP) since 1990 to post a pre-All-Star Break ERA under 3.00 and the first since Cliff Lee in 2008. The lowest in that time span belongs to Tom Candiotti (2.24 in 1991), who didn’t even make the All-Star team that year.
  • Josh Tomlin is the 10th Tribe pitcher since 1990 with double-digit wins before the All-Star break, but does so with the third-highest ERA of the group. The highest ERA in that span belongs to Charles Nagy, who went 11-4 with a 4.43 ERA in the first half in 1999.
  • Joe Smith has the lowest ERA (min 25 IP) of any Tribe pitcher since 1957 (as far back as the baseballmusings database goes). The previous low belonged to Derek Lilliquist (1.13) in 1993.
  • Amazingly, Mitch Talbot‘s 6.33 ERA is only the 4th highest by a Tribe pitcher (min 10 starts) before the break in the past five seasons. Fausto Carmona (7.42 in 2009), Jeremy Sowers (6.93 in 2007) and David Huff (6.71 in 2009) were all worse. Carmona’s dreadful 2007 first half is the Tribe’s worst since 1957. The only other pitcher above 7.00 in that span was Don Schulze (7.27) in 1985.

Eight shutout innings vs Yankees

Justin Masterson was brilliant on Wednesday night – hopefully locking up a spot on the All-Star team once the replacements are announced. His gem was just the 7th time a Tribe pitcher tossed eight shutout innings against the Yankees since 1990, and the first since Billy Traber‘s one-hitter in 2003.

Unfortunately his high pitch count – a recurring problem with Masterson – ruined any chance at a complete game.

Player Date Rslt App,Dec IP H R BB SO Pit
Justin Masterson 2011-07-06 W 5-3 GS-8 ,W 8.0 3 0 2 6 112
Billy Traber 2003-07-08 W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 0 5 102
Bartolo Colon 2000-09-18 W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 1 13 114
Dave Burba 2000-09-15 W 11-1 GS-8 ,W 8.0 3 0 3 7 102
Bartolo Colon 1998-06-21 W 11-0 GS-8 ,W 8.0 3 0 5 10 139
Charles Nagy 1995-09-13 W 5-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 2 5 115
Charles Nagy 1992-06-12 W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 5 90

Peavy shuts out Tribe 1-0

Jake Peavy out-dueld Tribe ace Justin Masterson, handing the Tribe a 1-0 defeat as they fall to 1-3 against the White Sox this season.

Peavy became just the 5th pitcher in the past 20 years to toss a shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Tribe.

Here’s a quick look back at the very odd group to accomplish the feat (click on the date for the box score)…

May 8, 2009Justin Verlander, Tigers – Verlander and Cliff Lee were locked in dueling shutouts until the 8th when Clete Thomas drove in the game’s only run with an RBI single. Verlander would allow just two hits and two walks while striking out 11.

June 17, 2001Todd Ritchie, Pirates – The Pirates were a full 21 games under .500 when the Tribe visited PNC park. Rookie CC Sabathia had allowed just one hit over seven innings, but was pulled after reaching the 100-pitch mark. Steve Karsay relieved and gave up a walk-off double to Aramis Ramirez in the bottom of the 9th. Ritchie scattered four hits, while striking out five.

April 14, 2001Steve Sparks, Tigers – It’s hard to believe one of the most dominant offensive teams in franchise history was held scoreless by guys like Ritchie and Sparks. Chuck Finley tossed a complete game for the Tribe, but allowed a run to score on a Bobby Higginson sac fly in the 1st inning.

July 15, 1998 Pedro Martinez, Red Sox – This was more of what you expect from a 1-0 pitcher’s duel. Martinez struck out nine while allowing just four hits. Bartolo Colon countered with a complete game of his own, but lost due to a Midre Cummings homer in the 5th.

Rays snap Masterson’s streak

The Rays finally got to Justin Masterson on Thursday, the first team to rough him up for more than three runs and the first to hand him a defeat.

His impressive start to the season ranks among the best in team history, trailing only Cliff Lee (2004) for the most consecutive starts without a loss while allowing three or fewer runs.

I included Satchel Paige on the list to the right even though he doesn’t quite fall into the same category as Masterson, but his performance was every bit as impressive and unexpected. Paige’s streak spanned the first seven starts of his career, but was broken up by relief appearances in between.

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.

Masterson joins Lee, Feller

Somehow I managed to miss this note the other day when Justin Masterson improved to 4-0 through his first four starts of the season.

With the win over the Royals, Masterson joined Cliff Lee (2008) and Bob Feller (1951) as the only Indians in the past 90 seasons to start the season with four consecutive wins while allowing two or fewer runs in each game. Both Lee and Feller would go on to win 22 games.

Tomlin joins Masterson at 3-0

Josh Tomlin picked up the win on Saturday, joining Justin Masterson at 3-0.

Masterson and Tomlin are the first pair of Indians starters with three wins the teams first 14 games since Rick Sutcliffe and Bert Blyleven in 1984. Pryor to ’84, you have to go back to Milt Wilcox and Gaylord Perry in 1972.

Making their hot start more impressive is the fact that they’re doing it at such a young age. Tomlin and Masterson, both 26, join CC Sabathia (2007) and Bartolo Colon (1999) as the only Tribe pitchers to win three games in the team’s first 14 games while under the age of 27. And since 1920, the only other pair to accomplish the feat was Sam McDowell and Luis Tiant in 1966.