When Justin Masterson went to the bullpen at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park on Wednesday to ready for his next start, he and the Cardinals coaches believed a solution for his continued struggles would be found first by asking a question:

How could he make everything simpler?

The answer is creative, and they’re eager to see if it’s curative.

“For the most part, I was pitching out of the windup, and things would get better out of the stretch at times,” Masterson said at his locker in the visitors’ clubhouse at PNC Park on Wednesday. “So we simplified it. I went only out of the stretch (in the bullpen). Less moving parts. You don’t have to worry about step back, turn around, ready to throw. We’re simplifying, really simplifying.”

The Cardinals have guaranteed Masterson, who they acquired from Cleveland at the July trade deadline, another start this Saturday. Masterson said he expects to pitch the afternoon game of the doubleheader. He said he intends to abandon the windup and throw out of the stretch — as a pitcher usually only does when a runner is on base. While working on the change Wednesday morning, Masterson said he didn’t feel like he was sacrificing any velocity or movement on his fastball by doing so.

He just felt his delivery was more streamlined.

“It doesn’t take away from our power,” the sinkerballer said. “Guys throw just as hard either way. When it comes to the timing, we got to talking and maybe you should just make it simpler.”

Masterson is 2-2 with a 7.43 ERA in five starts since joining the Cardinals. He has allowed at least four runs in each of four starts, and the only night he’s felt completely in synch with his mechanics was when he threw seven shutout innings at Miami. That night, he described how he had several “checkpoints” — or points of reference — in his delivery that he kept returning to consistently. One of them was remaining steady over his back leg and not breaking forward or rushing toward the plate.

It’s a checkpoint he said he didn’t hit in his most recent start.

Masterson allowed five runs on six hits and two walks at Philadelphia in a game the Cardinals lost, 7-1. It was the second time he’s had a start of three or fewer innings, though it’s the seven-inning win at Miami that manager Mike Matheny said keeps the Cardinals optimistic.

“We know it’s there, it’s just repeating, repeating, repeating,” Matheny said. “What is getting in the way of not repeating? It’s the same thing when I work with catchers. What are the little things that I can chip away that are extra movement. Just chipping. It’s chipping away the little things that are causing the inconsistency.”

For Masterson that means stripping away the way a majority of pitchers around baseball deliver the first pitch of every inning — from the windup. He mentioned how Texas righty Yu Darvish will go stretches without using the windup, and there are pitchers in Asia’s pro leagues that throw from the stretch. Relievers sometimes abandon the windup when searching for timing.

“This is a good opportunity for me here,” Masterson said. “I need to get this right. It’s not rocket science. It goes back to what’s the simplest way to try and get a ball to the plate. For us, this is it.”