OAKLAND -- In not so many words, John Farrell and Justin Masterson agreed that Masterson's outing wasn't acceptable Tuesday night.
Why that was -- and what to do about it -- was, however, a point of contention.
After Masterson endured his second straight poor start, shelled for six runs on six hits in just 2 1/3 innings in a 9-2 thumping by the Oakland A's, Farrell hinted that there were physical issues behind the performance.
"Clearly, he's not right,'' said Farrell. "Whether that's physical, whether that's delivery-wise, ball not coming out of his hand as he's shown for the better part of this year...So we've got to gather some information overnight, we've got to check on him when he comes in in the morning, get a full work-up and just get a better assessment of where things are.''
Farrell said if a physical issue exists, "it's not anything glaring, or an area of the body that can be identified to say, 'This is the primary reason.' To what extent he feels anything that might subconsciously be in there, to not allow him the freedom to cut the ball loose - that's what we're trying to get to the bottom of.''
Masterson put himself behind 1-0 after three batters and 3-0 after five.
He gave up another run in the second, and after allowing a solo homer and a walk to two of the three hitters he faced in the third, his night was done.
It was the fourth time this season that a Red Sox starter failed to get through the third inning and the 12th time that a Sox starter gave up at least five runs.
Masterson struggled all of 2014 with a variety of injuries, led by an oblique strain that later resulted in another physical issues and prevented him from repeating his delivery.
Asked what concerned him most from Masterson over the last two outings, Farrell said: "Consistency to the action of the pitches. The sink isn't as abrupt as (the pitches) enter the hitting zone, so the action to his pitches is a little bit longer and obviously easier for hitters to adjust to.''
But when Masterson was asked if there was anything physically wrong with him, he responded: "Other than not making good pitches? No. I never had a chance to feel comfortable. I didn't feel comfortable in the pre-game bullpen, as far as just being able to get a good release point. Once the game came, I tried to take a ball in, leave it over the middle, homer. Try to take it over, leave it over the middle. Everything just ran back to the middle and that's not really what we're trying to do.''
In summing up his outing, which saw him get tagged for four hard-hit extra-base hits to the 14 hitters he faced, Masterson said: "I wasn't able to stand on anything today. This one, it didn't come out as well as I was hoping. We knew this was going to be a year of hitting our spots and that didn't take place.''
Equally concerning was the diminished velocity. Last Wednesday, when he walked six in just 4 1/3 innings, he at least regularly hit 89 mph with his fastball. Tuesday night, he was often 85-86 mph.
"Today (the velocity) was really disappointing,'' conceded Masterson. "I was laboring a little too much to get 86s and 87s out there. Today - and it all goes back to the idea that I wasn't comfortable with my mechanics. I just wasn't behind the ball.''
Farrell wouldn't entertain questions about removing Masterson from the rotation, though he wouldn't guarantee that the righthander would take his next turn.
"It's probably best that we get a chance to get as much information as we can,'' he said. "We're not at a point where we're going to make that statement tonight. But again, we're taking a look at everything we can.''
Masterson, meanwhile, insisted "as we discuss right now, I'm more than capable (of making his next start, scheduled for Sunday in Seattle... I really think it's not anything too extreme at this point. I think it will be a good time to work and assess and really go out and have some fun in Seattle.''