The Last Pitch of Justin Masterson’s Complete Game

It will likely come as no surprise to the reader to learn that Cleveland right-hander Justin Masterson and the author have a lot in common: we both lived in the Boston area for a little while, we both have -son at the end of at least one of our names, and both of us totally possess a Y chromosome (regardless of what some “doctors” supposedly say). “Two peas in a pod” would be the most expeditious way of describing us.

One way in which we’re different, however, is that only one of us pitched a complete game against the Reds on Wednesday night (box). And only one of us finished said complete game by striking out baseball’s most likely year-end WAR leader.

Indeed, it was Justin Masterson — and not the present author — who did those latter two things. Shocking, I know.

Of some note is Masterson’s final pitch of the game in question: a sinking fastball at 94.6 mph, according to PITCHf/x — a pitch that featured not only both more armside run and sink than the league-average sinker, but also excellent placement.

Here’s footage of the pitch in question:

And, lest one suppose that Masterson received beneficial treatment from home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa, I present the following (slightly modified) strike-zone plot, courtesy Brooks Baseball:



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Steve McEwen
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Steve McEwen
3 years 11 months ago

And yet the most impressive part is that he struck out a LHH to end the game. Let alone it was Votto.

Robby
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Robby
3 years 11 months ago

“And, lest one suppose that Masterson received beneficial treatment from home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa”

Is anyone arguing that? Looked like a damn fine pitch to my untrained eye, even without the plot.

thalooch
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thalooch
3 years 11 months ago

and this was the Justin Masterson that I thought I was drafting in the 12th round.

It’s a damn good thing I didnt panic and trade him away for Frank Francisco when I had the chance.

TheLoLgen
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TheLoLgen
3 years 11 months ago

I traded Rollins and Leake for Masterson and Bartlett while Masterson’s ERA was in the mid 5’s. Then I flipped Bartlett for Wade Miley a few days before Bartlett went on the DL, and proceeded to pick up Everth Cabrera (Bartlett’s likely permanent replacement). I’ve been reaping the benefits since then.

hk
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hk
3 years 11 months ago

Didn’t you basically sell low on Rollins to buy low on Masterson?

Jeff in So. Indiana
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Jeff in So. Indiana
3 years 11 months ago

Why would anyone care about your fantasy team? Get a life.

thalooch
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thalooch
3 years 11 months ago

wait, someone actually drafted Jason Bartlett this year? And not only that, was able to trade him away…….twice.
Is there an open spot in your league? Please say its for money.

Tyler
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Tyler
3 years 11 months ago

Masterson is absolutely filthy, its really a shame he can’t develop any consistency on his offspeed stuff, he would be one of the most dominant pitchers in the league.

Tom
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Tom
3 years 11 months ago

He hasn’t been so filthy this year unfortunately. Much better lately but his velocity is noticeably down from last year.

Also, i notice last year his SI had -1.2 vertical movement and this year it is +1.1. Is that saying his *sinker* is rising?

Adam
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Adam
3 years 11 months ago

Masterson’s velocity on the season is down from last year, but remember the climate he pitches in and that pitchers in cold weather tend to take a few months before they start hitting their peak velocity.

In each of Masterson’s last 3 starts, his average fastball velocity has been as high or higher than his average from 2011, and last night it was almost 1.5 mph faster. That’s a very good sign.

Justin had a terrible March/April, but posted a 3.81 FIP in May, and his June FIP sits at 2.47. I think it’s safe to say he’s back to where he was last year.

Well-Beered Englishman
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Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 11 months ago

I had to watch the GIF at least 15 times because initially I got hung up on staring at the awkward, awkward arm positioning with which the GIF begins. Masterson’s delivery looks painful.

GoToWarMissAgnes
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GoToWarMissAgnes
3 years 11 months ago

Just want to point out that based on those year-end projections, Mike Trout will be the fifth best position player in baseball this year. I know it’s been said pretty frequently, but that guy is just unbelievable.

payroll
Member
payroll
3 years 11 months ago

That is some whiffle ball action

tonysipp
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tonysipp
3 years 11 months ago

that ninth inning was the best masterson’s looked all season; of course, it came with virtually no leverage, but he was definitely throwing his best stuff out there

AJP
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AJP
3 years 11 months ago

It crosses the zone where Brooks has it, however I think where Santana frames it causes the doubt.

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