Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/14/12

The inconsistency of the Indians' starting pitching has been found mostly in the bottom three spots in

the rotation. However, even the No. 1 and 2 starters, Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez, have had their

occasional ups and downs as well.

On Friday night, it was Masterson who pitched the Indians to a 1-0 win over Toronto, while underscoring

his own recent inconsistencies. Masterson pitched seven scoreless innings on five hits, with five

strikeouts and one walk.

Friday's start followed Masterson's worst start of the season, which came in his last start before the

All-Star break, on July 6, in a 10-3 loss to Tampa Bay. In that game, Masterson gave up eight runs on nine

hits in 4 1/3 innings, with seven strikeouts and four walks.

In his start prior to that one, Masterson allowed one unearned run on five hits in seven innings, with

seven strikeouts and no walks in a 6-2 win over Baltimore on July 1. So in his last three starts, Masterson

has gone from very good to very bad to very good.

It's no secret what area the Indians need to show the most improvement in during the second half of the

season. That would be the pitching staff, specifically the starting rotation. At the All-Star break, the

Indians had the second-highest team ERA, 4.50, in the American League.

The starting rotation sets the tone for the pitching staff, and the No. 1 starter sets the tone for the

rotation. Although his record didn't show it, Masterson overall in the first half was fairly consistent.

But the wild fluctuations in his last three starts will have to be eliminated in the second half if he is

to be the rotation leader the Indians need him to be coming down the stretch.

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