Justin Masterson put his team in a 7-run hole Tuesday by allowing 8 runs in 3.2 IP. But after Seattle knocked him out with 6 runs in the bottom of the 4th, Cleveland answered with 7 in their next time up, and went on to claim their 4th straight win, 9-8.

How rare is it to overcome such a disastrous start as Masterson had? Find out after the jump.

  • Since 2009, teams whose SP allowed at least 7 runs in 4 IP or less have a combined record of 31-479 (.061) — that’s about 1 out of 16, or a season record of 10-152.
  • The 7-run comeback is Cleveland’s largest since this game in 2009, when they fought back from 10 runs down and beat the Rays with a 7-run 9th that included four straight walks to bring in the tying run.

Speaking of walks … Mariners SS Brendan Ryan has a career average of 37 walks per 162 games and began Tuesday’s game with 2 walks in 31 PAs this year. Then he drew 4 walks in 5 times up — the first 4-walk game by any player this year. One of them forced in a run; two came on four pitches, but all were clearly not intentional. Ryan, who struck out in his other trip, scored twice and had an RBI without ever putting the ball in play.

  • Four walks is twice as many as #3 hitter Ichiro Suzuki had through 12 games and an AL-high 50 PAs.

For the second straight start, Gio Gonzalez tossed 7 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits, as the Nats improved to 9-3.

  • From 2009-11, Washington had just one such start (7+ IP, 0 R, 2 H or less).
  • Gio’s last two Game Scores were 79 and 80. The last Nats pitcher with two straight Game Scores of 75+ was John Patterson in 2005.

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This week’s episode of “How’d he get that job?” focuses on Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen.

Now in his 5th season in the bigs, the righty Jepsen has career marks of 5.04 ERA, 83 ERA+, 139 innings, and -0.2 WAR. Of his two full seasons with the Angels (2009-10), the better one saw 59 IP, 101 ERA+ and 0.8 WAR.

His minor-league career shows a 4.00 ERA, 8.3 SO/9 and 1.58 SO/BB. The lone standout season, the one that seems to have gotten him to the majors, was 2008, his third year in a relief role, when he had a “hit-lucky” 1.81 ERA in 55 IP, with a modest 1.26 WHIP and 1.87 SO/BB ratio.

After his mediocre 2009-10 seasons and a rocky start in 2011 (7.62 ERA in 13 IP), Jepsen was demoted in June and spent the rest of the year back at AAA, posting a 4.45 ERA and just 6.4 SO/9 in 28 IP.

And now he’s back, costing the Angels precious games. On Tuesday, Jepsen played the lead role in the club’s latest bullpen self-immolation, turning a 1-run lead in the 8th into a 3-run hole in part by walking the #9 hitter — Oakland’s #9 hitter — and later allowing a go-ahead double on a 1-2 pitch. Through Tuesday, the Angels are the only team without a save, and their 5.70 relief ERA is the 4th-worst in MLB. They’ve also let in 10 of 22 inherited runners, the 2nd-worst raw total and 6th-worst percentage.

The bulk of the damage has come from Jepsen, Rich Thompson and Hisanori Takahashi, who’ve combined to allow 16 ER in 11 IP for your basic 13.09 ERA. Now, lots of relievers have ugly stats early in the season. But at least Thompson and Takahashi have a track record of success in the majors. Jepsen’s presence in the big leagues would seem to be based on wishful thinking.

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