Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Contemplating Kevin Slowey

Kevin Slowey in September: Five starts,
27.1 innings, 22 runs (all earned),
17 strikeouts and no walks. 
Kevin Slowey made his eighth (and final) start of the season Monday. He lost. Again. He was the losing pitcher in all eight of his starts.

Won-loss records are far from the ideal yardstick by which to measure pitchers, but that seems a significant number. Oh-and-eight in eight starts.

He also relieved six times. The Twins lost all six of those games as well.

Slowey's opposite-of-triumphant return to the rotation has illustrated why the Twins wanted to move him to the bullpen. As was the case last season, he frequently provided three, four, five good innings, then melted down. Such was the case Monday: He came into the sixth inning with a 3-1 lead and got just two outs that inning, surrendering four runs and the lead.

His strong suit — his control — remains strong. He walked just five men in 59.1 innings; while his strikeout rate is lower than in previous seasons, his K/BB ratio is better than ever. It's difficult to believe a pitcher who fans almost seven men for each walk can be this ineffective.

Slowey and team management are widely believed to be on the outs. So, a couple of years ago, were Glen Perkins and the organization, and that appears to have been patched up. But Perkins accepted a bullpen shift and thrived in that role; a similar shift didn't take with Slowey.

My hope back in August, when Slowey slid back into the major league rotation to take the place of the injured Scott Baker, was that Slowey would at least rebuild his value as a trade chip — so that even if the Twins don't want him back in 2012, maybe someone else would give up something for him.

That, it seems safe to say, didn't happen.

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