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.

Eric Thames exits game with right knee soreness

Eric Thames
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Brewers outfielder Eric Thames made an early exit from Friday’s game against the Cardinals after colliding with Lorenzo Cain on an outfield catch in the first inning. According to an official report, he has been diagnosed with right knee soreness and is presumably day-to-day for the time being.

It was a brutal collision knocked both outfielders flat on their backs, but they were able to resume their positions and stick it out for the rest of the inning. Thames was up in the second, too, and struck out on five pitches from St. Louis right-hander Jack Flaherty before making an eventual exit in the top of the third. He was replaced on the field and in the lineup by Hernan Perez.

Entering Friday’s contest, the 31-year-old Thames carried a .230/.308/.516 batting line, 16 home runs and an .824 OPS in his second full season with the Brewers. He hasn’t replicated the career-high .247-average, 31-homer, 2.1-fWAR totals of his breakout performance in 2017, though that’s likely due to a combination of decreased playing time and lengthy recovery periods mandated by several significant injuries, including a torn UCL in his left thumb and a right hamstring strain. There’s no word yet on when he might return to the lineup this season.