Tagged: Kevin Slowey

On Pace: Pitchers

Several Minnesota hitters find themselves on pace for career highs, and the culmination of some good offense early on has the team on pace to hit the most homeruns as a club in quite some time. 

The projections carry over to the pitchers side where some starters are having career years and where the suddenly sharp bullpen is putting up some solid numbers. 
** Francisco Liriano is on pace for a record of just 8-16. He has recently begun to turn things around, so the obvious hope is that the loss total doesn’t reach that point. Liriano is projected to strike out 160 hitters in a total of 178 innings pitched.
** Scott Baker missed some time due to injury, and got off to a slow start which has altered his projections. He hopes to continue his recent string of strong outings, but is currently on pace for a 12-12 record with a total of 148 strikeouts in a career high 184 innings pitched.
** Nick Blackburn is on pace for a solid 3.10 ERA, but due to low run support midway through the season is projected for only a 12-8 record. The second-year pro is however on pace to pitch 4 complete games in an astounding 214 innings.
** Glen Perkins missed nearly a month, but with the exception of a few starts has been solid. The lefty is on pace to go 8-8 with a 4.38 ERA in only 148 innings of work.
** Kevin Slowey is on pace for an amazing 20-6 record in 180 innings of work. Due to two consecutive poor outings, Slowey is on pace for a 4.86 ERA. A few other numbers that stick out are his projections for strikeouts and walks. Slowey is on pace to sit down 150 hitters and walk just 30.
** Anthony Swarzak has only pitched in a few games, but has been recalled and is on pace to go 4-4 with a 3.90 ERA in a total of 54 innings. Time in the bullpen however could alter his projections.
** Joe Nathan is on pace for 42 saves and a solid 1.39 ERA. Considered on of the league’s best, Nathan is also on pace to strike out 82 hitters in only 64 innings of work.
** Matt Guerrier is on pace to rebound from a poor ’08 season with a 2.65 ERA. Guerrier is also projected to to appear in nearly half of the team’s games with 80 appearances. In one of the major stats for relievers, holds, Guerrier is on pace to finish near the top with 32.
** Jose Mijares, a year after posting a sub-1.00 ERA, is on pace for a very solid 2.16 ERA in 58 appearances. The lefty is also on pace to pitch a total of 50 innings and collect 22 holds.
** R.A. Dickey is on pace to post a 2.96 ERA in a total of 50 appearances and 96 innings. The long reliever is also projected to strike out 66 hitters.
No longer with the organization, Luis Ayala was excluded from the list. Phillip Humber, Jesse Crain, and Sean Henn were not included due to their demotions. Meanwhile major leaguers Brian Duensing and Bobby Keppel did not have sufficient stats for accurate projections.

Homestand Highlights: Tigers, Yankees, and Sox

After surviving a tumultuous June schedule that consisted of two long roadtrips and 19 of a total 27 games on the road, the Twins have finally returned to their comfort zone in Minneapolis. For the next ten days, the Twins will remain indoors and continue the countdown of games until outdoor baseball in Minnesota. 

Two games above .500 for the first time this season, the Twins will kick off a series with the Detroit Tigers in the first game of a three-series, nine-game homestand. Following the Tigers, the Twins will host the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox before taking a four-day break while the league’s best head to St. Louis for the All-Star Break. 
The homestand may be one of the biggest for the Twins this season as they face their toughest rivals for the division title, Detroit and Chicago. As the Tigers sit atop the American League Central by three games, the Twins have an opportunity to gain ground and momentum to kick off the final stretch before the break. 
With a sweep, the Twins could draw even with Detroit and with two victories they could gain one game in the hunt for October. One lone victory will cost the Twins a game in the race, and a sweep would be devastating; doubling the team’s deficit and pushing them six games back. 

The Tigers enter as a decent road team (20-24) having played two fewer games than Minnesota this season. They have put up the same record (6-4) as the Twins in the past ten games, and are coming off a loss in Oakland. The Twins will see no Justin Verlander, but following a Major League debut by rookie Lucas French, they’ll face the suddenly great Edwin Jackson (6-4, 2.49) and Rick Porcello (8-5, 3.90). 
For the Twins, Kevin Slowey (10-3, 4.41) will look to take over the league lead in victories. Slowey also has one last shot to prove his worthiness of being an All-Star selection. Coming off a strong start in St. Louis that saved his spot in the rotation, Francisco Liriano (4-8, 5.62) will counter Jackson on Saturday. In the series finale on Sunday afternoon, the Twins will send out their surprisingly best starter, Nick Blackburn (6-4, 3.10). 
A game one victory will be key for the Twins, and it’ll heighten their chances of gaining ground before weekend’s end. 

After the Twins host the Tigers, they’ll take on a team they’ve often struggled to solve, the Yankees. This season the Yankees have had many ups and downs, but entering the weekend, the Bronx Bombers are 45-33 and second in a strong American League East. The Twins will send Scott Baker and Glen Perkins to the hill, and while the third starter remains unknown, the likely candidate is Kevin Slowey. 
The only certainty for the Yankees presence on the mound is the former Twin nemesis, C.C. Sabathia. 

With three games before the break, the Twins will host the suddenly sharp White Sox. In the last ten games, the White Sox have gone an impressive 8-2. Combined with timely losses by the Tigers, the White Sox have moved into second place and sit 2.5 games back in the Central. 

The rotation remains largely uncertain for the final series before the break, but assuming the Twins remain on schedule with one off-day during the homestand, they’ll send out Liriano, Blackburn, and Baker. 
Loses to Detroit could push the Twins back further in the division, and a tough series with Chicago could do much of the same. It’s far to early to call any series a must win, but the Twins cannot afford to lose ground or momentum before they take a break for the midsummer classic.