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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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


15 Responses to “The Last Pitch of Justin Masterson’s Complete Game”

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  1. Steve McEwen says:

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

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  2. Robby says:

    “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.

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  3. thalooch says:

    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.

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    • TheLoLgen says:

      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.

      -13 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • hk says:

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

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      • Jeff in So. Indiana says:

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

        +29 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • thalooch says:

        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.

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  4. Tyler says:

    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.

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    • Tom says:

      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?

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      • Adam says:

        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.

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  5. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    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.

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  6. GoToWarMissAgnes says:

    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.

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  7. payroll says:

    That is some whiffle ball action

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  8. tonysipp says:

    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

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  9. AJP says:

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

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