It appears that Kevin Slowey is at something of a crossroads.
He ripped through the minors with essentially one pitch — a 90-mph fastball — and an almost unique ability to locate it. He seldom showed a breaking ball or change in the minors; the hitters never forced him to.
He has essentially stuck with that approach in the majors, and entered this season with a 26-15 record. Part of that won-lost record, of course, is run support, not quality pitching. But he has, racked up walk-to-strikeout ratios of about 1 to 5 — and anybody who can do that is going to win.
But the wrist injury — from a line drive taken in his final start of 2008 — that ended his 2009 season prematurely so that he could have reconstructive surgery appears to have changed that. His walks are up slightly, his strikeouts down a touch. The ratio this year is a bit over 1 to 3.6 — still strong, but not as strong as he's used to.
More troubling is the loss of command as opposed to control. He's still throwing strikes, but not necessarily the strikes he wants. He said during spring training that the wrist may never feel right again; I suspect that the extraordinary ability to put his fastball in exactly the place he wants it is gone.
If so, he needs something more. More movement on the fastball. Or more curves, sliders, changeups. He can't be a one-pitch control artist anymore.