The days of Justin Masterson blowing fastballs past hitters might be over. But pure speed isn’t the only way to be effective.
The Boston Red Sox pitcher has seen the average velocity on his fastball drop from 93.1 miles per hour in 2011 to 87.9 mph so far this season. But Masterson still is finding ways to get batters out, as evidenced by his 2-0 record and 20 strikeouts through four starts in 2015.
So how has the 30-year-old adapted to this dip in velocity? By changing his strategy on the mound, starting with a greater emphasis on mixing up the speed of his pitches.
“He has had to change,” WEEI’s Rob Bradford said before Friday’s game against the New York Yankees. “What Justin Masterson will do, watch him (Friday night), he’s basically a two-pitch pitcher. You have the slider and the fastball, but you’ll have the fastball at different speeds.”
Hear more from Bradford and Red Sox legend Jim Rice on Masterson in the video above.
Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images