- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Cleveland Indians right-hander Justin Masterson finally lost Thursday, allowing eight hits, four walks and five runs in 5 2/3 innings to the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. Masterson hadn't given up more than three runs in an outing, and his ERA rose from 2.11 to 2.73. There's probably another earned run of regression here, so be prepared.
New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran smacked three home runs at Coors Field on Thursday, knocking in six. Beltran entered Thursday hitting .182 on the road with nary a home run, so this was a nice surprise. Now with eight home runs, there could be 20 more in Beltran's future.
Meanwhile, Beltran hit his first home run off Ubaldo Jimenez, who continues to struggle, walking six Mets in 3 2/3 innings, while allowing three hits and five runs. His ERA stands at 6.67, and he's winless in six starts. I'd still buy low, but you can't leave the right-hander active while he's walking six per nine innings. Eventually, this has to improve.
Similarly, so much for New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova turning the corner; the Kansas City Royals torched him for 10 hits, two walks and eight runs (four earned) in three innings Thursday. Nova had won consecutive starts, and allowed three earned runs in his past 20 innings. He's inconsistent, and therefore risky for active rosters.
Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann fanned 11 Atlanta Braves in 6 1/3 innings Thursday, ultimately allowing three earned runs in yet another no-decision. Zimmermann has won two of eight starts, but with a 1.23 WHIP and on pace for more than 150 strikeouts, he's valuable and getting better.
Lefties Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles and Jason Vargas of the Seattle Mariners each tossed nine shutout innings Thursday, though neither earned a decision. The popular Britton, owned in 84.7 percent of leagues, continues to shine (2.42 ERA), though his strikeout rate is low. Vargas is the one owned in 1.7 percent of leagues, despite a 3.86 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. Get them both.
Eric Karabell reviews Thursday's fantasy-relevant performances, highlighted by Justin Masterson's first loss and a huge day from Carlos Beltran.