CLEVELAND -- Justin Masterson wishes the cure to his command issues was as simple as sliding to the other side of the pitching rubber. Unfortunately, the Indians sinkerballer is working through a slightly more complicated process.
"It makes sense to me," Masterson said on Saturday morning. "But it'd be tough to explain even to other people in baseball."
On Friday night against the Angels, Masterson logged 8 1/3 innings in a more efficient showing than he had turned in for the Tribe in a handful of starts. Following the game, Indians manager Manny Acta noted that Masterson had slid more to the third-base side of the pitching rubber at the start of his delivery. While true, the pitcher said there is more to it than that.
Masterson noted that the primary area of focus for him involves his arm slot and follow-through.
"More or less, it's arm slot," Masterson explained. "It's kind of getting through the ball and not getting underneath it. That's pretty much what happened. Now, the movement on the rubber, in essence, is where we had been before. I kind of creeped over a little bit, so we scooted back over. In a sense, that would give you more room for error.
"Part of it is, even if you're on the first-base side, you should still be able to throw strikes. So, yeah, it might give you more room for error. Righties may see the ball a little bit better, but maybe you'll get some more ground balls. For me, the biggest part was getting down through the ball. That was the bigger adjustment for me."
In his start against Los Angeles, Masterson allowed two runs on four hits, but still issued an uncharacteristically high five walks in the outing. The right-hander has 15 walks compared to eight strikeouts in 17 innings of work across his past three starts. That, after he struck out 12 and walked only two in 13 innings between his first two starts this season.
Masterson is working toward finding a solution.
"There are just some minor things," said the pitcher.