CLEVELAND -- The last time Justin Masterson had a start interrupted by rain, the Indians' rotation leader got on a nice roll for the Tribe. Cleveland can only hope that the same will hold true after Wednesday's wet conditions at Progressive Field forced the game to be postponed.
With a heavy rain falling and the sky rumbling, the Indians postponed their scheduled evening tilt against the Angels. Cleveland opted against playing a doubleheader on Thursday, when the teams wrap up the current series at 12:05 p.m. ET with Masterson opposed by Angels lefty C.J. Wilson.
"It's not our call, but I don't think it's anyone's best interest to do that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of playing a doubleheader on Thursday. "There's a lot of mutual dates where we can make this one up."
The Indians and Angels have common off-days on July 28, Aug. 14 and Sept. 8. Each of those dates come either at the beginning or in the middle of a homestand for Cleveland.
Indians manager Terry Francona, who was not available to the media following Wednesday's postponement, is expected to go over any changes to Cleveland's rotation during Thursday's pregame meeting with reporters. Right-hander Zach McAllister, for example, was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday and was initially scheduled to start on Thursday.
Following the series with the Angels, Cleveland opens a three-game series against its division rivals from Detroit on Friday. Prior to Wednesday's rainout, the Indians' probable starting pitchers for the series against the Tigers included Corey Kluber (Friday), Trevor Bauer (Saturday) and Josh Tomlin (Sunday).
Cleveland then has an off-day on either side (Monday and June 26) of its upcoming two-game road set against the D-backs. Due to that unusual schedule, Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway plan on meeting to determine how to best align Cleveland's rotation over the next week.
What the Indians do know right now is that Masterson (4-5, 5.05 ERA) will take the ball on Thursday looking to bounce back from one of the worst outings of his career. On Friday in Boston, the big righty turned in the fewest innings (two) and pitches (59) of his career for a start that was not shortened by either inclement weather or injury. Masterson allowed five runs in a loss to the Red Sox.
"The most glaring thing," Callaway said earlier this week, "was I just thought his effort level was fluctuating so much that it was hard to repeat [his delivery]. He felt good his previous two starts. He was kind of repeating pretty good. [On Friday], for whatever reason, when he walked that first guy, it seemed like he just started battling himself.
"It was like, 'OK, I'm going to let up to throw strikes here,' and that didn't work. Then, 'OK, I'm going to try to get a little more to throw strikes,' and that didn't work. He never took a consistent approach to try to throw the ball over the plate. I think that's what hurt him the most."
In his two starts prior to the outing in Boston, Masterson allowed just two earned runs in 12 2/3 innings (1.42 ERA) with 16 strikeouts and six walks. Those two appearances followed a three-inning, rain-shortened start against the White Sox on May 27 in Chicago.
"Obviously we want to get back to what he was doing the starts previous to the last one," Callaway said. "We're going to try to talk about just having a little more consistent effort level and a little more energy in his delivery. A little more tempo, a little more energy and a little more intent to let the ball go and trust that it's going to happen."