Justin Masterson to pitch exclusively out of the stretch for his next start

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Justin Masterson’s season has been godawful. He had a 5.51 ERA in 19 starts for the Indians and now he has a 7.43 ERA in five starts for the Cardinals. He didn’t make it out of the fourth inning in his last appearance, allowing five runs. So now he’s going to try something different: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Masterson is going to work exclusively out of the stretch, abandoning his windup.

I suppose it can’t hurt given that everything else he has done has led to unmitigated disaster. But this strikes me as a desperation move. If the game Saturday wasn’t part of a doubleheader one questions whether he’d even get the start. And unless he is fantastic on Saturday, you figure this is the last start the Cards will give him, given that they’re fighting to make the playoffs and all.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”