Masterson was confident the struggles wouldn't last too long.
"We're gonna come out and dominate the second half," he said.
So far, so good. Masterson rebounded from his rough outing against Tampa Bay by shutting down Toronto in his first outing out of the break. Masterson will try to keep it going when he gets another chance against the Rays Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.
Outside of the last time he faced the Rays, Masterson has been solid for the Indians since the beginning of June. He's 4-3 with a 1.65 ERA in the other seven starts during that span, including his last one against the Blue Jays in which he pitched seven shutout innings. Masterson allowed only five hits in that start, while striking out five and walking one.
"Masterson was impressive," Indians manager Manny Acta said afterward. "He established his fastball the whole game, was able to throw it to both sides of the plate. He also had a pretty good slider and a pretty good idea of when to add and subtract to his sinker. I thought that he did a magnificent job."
The Rays will counter with struggling right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who lost to the Indians when he faced them on July 5. Hellickson has dropped six consecutive decisions after starting the season 4-0, and he's lost his last four starts. He's 4-6 with a 3.48 ERA on the season.
In his last start against Boston, Hellickson allowed three runs on five hits over six innings. He struggled with his command, walking four batters. Hellickson has walked 17 in his last five starts.
Despite his struggles, though, Hellickson felt good about the way he pitched against the Red Sox.
"I thought my stuff was pretty good," Hellickson said after the start. "Made a bad pitch to [David] Ortiz in the first that cost me, but overall, I think my stuff was pretty good."
Many of Hellickson's problems have come from a lack of run support. The Rays have dropped 3-1 decisions in each of his last two starts.
Indians: Choo disagrees with ruling on overturned home run
• Right fielder Shin-Soo Choo believes he should have been awarded third base when his leadoff home run was overturned in the first inning of Monday night's game against the Rays. Instead, Choo was sent to second and given a double.
Choo sent a blast to right-center field off Rays pitcher Alex Cobb, and it hit off the top of the wall. Choo sprinted to first before the hit was ruled a home run. He believes he would have made it to third if the umpires had judged it correctly in real time.
Acta, though, understands that it's hard to make a fair ruling after changing the call on instant replay.
"We always talk about that," Acta said, "but as a general rule, they just give the guy two bases. You just can't assume that the guy is going to make it to third. They don't want to open some kind of can of worms."
• Despite shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera's struggles at the plate, Acta doesn't plan to move him down in the lineup anytime soon. Cabrera, one of the Indians' two All-Stars, is in a 2-for-29 slump and his batting average has dipped to .274.
Rays: Joyce quiet in return
• Outfielder Matt Joyce was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday night's game against the Indians, and he started for the first time since injuring his oblique on June 19. Joyce went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Rays' 4-2 win.
To make room for Joyce, the Rays optioned infielder Will Rhymes to Triple-A Durham. Rhymes had been hitting in the team's leadoff spot.
The Rays went just 8-15 during the time Joyce was on the disabled list. He's hitting .273 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs on the season.
Everything felt great," Joyce said of his rehab assignment with Class A Charlotte. "I feel like my timing really wasn't that far off. I was seeing the ball pretty well, hit a couple balls hard. I felt like I was ready, and I told them."
• First baseman Carlos Pena went 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs on Tuesday night, his first homer since July 4 against the Yankees. Pena had only five RBIs in his previous 19 games.
• Masterson is 2-7 with a 7.04 ERA in eight career starts (17 games) against the Rays.
• Hellickson is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in two career starts against the Indians.
• The Indians have scored two or fewer runs in four of their five games since the All-Star break.