Cardinals' Masterson working with Wainwright on mechanics

Aug 9, 5:08 PM

St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Justin Masterson was shelled for five runs in two innings of work in his last start Friday vs. the Baltimore Orioles, prompting him to tweak his mechanics with the aid of the team's coaching staff and peers.

"It wasn't exactly what I wanted it to be," Masterson said of his short outing in an MLB.com story. "We don't feel that far off either. Last outing, I felt really good about getting through pitches. This one didn't feel as crisp. But I think being able to dissect both of them as we go should lead to a better next outing."

Manager Mike Matheny and staff ace Adam Wainwright are working with Masterson, who is just one year removed from an All-Star season, in an attempt to right the ship.

"Right now, he's trying to get it in the right place, which doesn't allow him to let it eat," Matheny said. "Once he gets a good feel with where he is mechanically, I think that allows him to ramp up and use his lower half a little bit better."

Masterson, who boasts an ugly 5.94 ERA and 1.72 WHIP splitting innings between the Cleveland Indians and Cardinals this season, is scheduled to get the ball Wednesday in Miami.

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Joy R. Absalon

Sep 1, 1:39 PM

Cardinals demote Masterson to bullpen

Sep 1, 1:39 PM

The St. Louis Cardinals were looking for a little more when they acquired Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians a month ago. 

In six starts, the hulking right-hander has posted a 2-3 record to go with a 7.90 ERA, while allowing six home runs in 27 1/3 innings. 

The string of poor performances forced Masterson to attempt to pitch completely out of the stretch on Saturday. That experiment resulted in allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings against the lowly Chicago Cubs, forcing the Cardinals to drop the 29-year-old from the rotation. 

Masterson, who is a free agent at the end of the year, earned double-digit wins in each of his last three seasons, but hasn't managed to put it all together this season.

The seven-year veteran has made 62 career appearances in relief, but just four of those have come since 2011. In 89 1/3 innings, Masterson owns a 3.12 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. 

Feature photo courtesy of Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 29, 12:02 PM

Cardinals' Masterson to pitch exclusively out of the stretch Saturday

Aug 29, 12:02 PM

The St. Louis Cardinals have guaranteed struggling right-hander Justin Masterson at least one more start this season - and he's willing to try anything to ensure it's not his last.

Masterson believes his troubles on the mound this season may be related to situational mechanics, so he's ditching the full windup from his approach Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.

"For the most part, I was pitching out of the windup, and things would get better out of the stretch at times," Masterson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after a bullpen session Wednesday. "So we simplified it. I went only out of the stretch [in the bullpen]. Less moving parts."

The 29-year-old has continued to struggle since the Cardinals acquired him and his 5.51 ERA from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline in July. Masterson has allowed 19 earned runs in 23 innings over five starts with St. Louis.

His only quality start came Aug. 13 at Miami, when the right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball without allowing a walk. Masterson said it was in that start he realized how inconsistent he had become trying to maintain so many moving parts in his delivery.

Via the Post-Dispatch:

That night, he described how he had several “checkpoints” — or points of reference — in his delivery that he kept returning to consistently. One of them was remaining steady over his back leg and not breaking forward or rushing toward the plate.

How Masterson fares from the stretch remains to be seen, as the numbers don't offer his new approach much support. Opponents are hitting for a higher average, getting on base more often and slugging at a better clip when he throws from the stretch compared to the full windup. 

Masterson is scheduled to start the afternoon portion of Saturday's doubleheader in St. Louis.