June Twin of the Month: Carl Pavano
Carl Pavano may not be cited in any medical journals, however, the Twins righty has dispelled popular medical opinion that there is no immediate nerve connection between one's upper-lip and the right arm. While left fielder Delmon Young's surging June earned him a deserved opportunity to get tabbed for the All-Star game, the 'stache power of Pavano earns my top nod for the June Twin of the Month.
Although the club endured their first losing June since 2003, little (if any) of that early-summer burn nor July slide can be attributed to Pavano. Last month, Pavano led Twins starters in wins (4), ERA (2.25), Innings Pitched (40), and WHIP (0.800). Among Major League starters for the month, those same marks all ranked in the top-15 for all of baseball.
In Pavano's five outings, he tossed four Quality Starts and closed out the month with back-to-back complete game victories, making me appear somewhat competent in selecting him as the club's most likely candidate to get in on MLB's perfect game/no hitter scene. And while those nine inning efforts didn't segue into his July 1 start in the Twins' eventual 5-4 loss to Tampa, Pavano still notched another Quality outing in the No Decision, allowing just 2 earned runs in 6+ innings of labor. Tonight, he gets another crack at that first July win in the series opener versus the sliding Blue Jays.
The June victory tab for Pavano served as just the fourth instance in his career in which he's earned four or more wins in a single month. On two occasions -- June of 2004 and May of last season -- he notched five. In addition, those 40 innings of work marked only the fifth time the he has reached that monthly total in a career that began back in 1998.
But what stands out most is that razor-thin June WHIP (Walks/Hits per Inning Pitched) of 0.800. That serves as the baseball's fifth lowest monthly mark for the first three months of the season (Carlos Silva tops with a 0.770 April) and, moreover, represents the most diminutive monthly WHIP of Pavano's entire career. In those 40 innings of work, the righty allowed just 26 hits mixed with a mere six walks allowed.
While Pavano no doubt had himself a fine comeback May last year before coming to the Twins via Cleveland in early August -- his June of '10 likely serves as his finest month in six years. To refresh: that campaign of '04 served as Pavano's lone All-Star season, found him winning a career-high 18 game, placed him 6th in NL Cy Young voting, and led to his $40
million, injury-plagued tenure with the Yankees.
As the oldest member of the Twins starting staff by six years and the most veteran by as many seasons -- Pavano's mug may lead with the 'stache. But more importantly, he's leading a still-youthful Twins' staff by example. If not for Pavano's stellar June, the Twins could have arrived at Independence Day even further muddled in the midst of Central Division company. Instead, the vet arm kept the club afloat during a troubling month, keeping the pace a' canter as the Twins try their best to limp to the All-Star break.
For being recognized as our June Twin of the Month, Carl Pavano receives a free lip wax (at a time of his choosing), compliments of City Pages' web editor, Jen Boyles.
Previous Twins of the Month:
April -- Michael Cuddyer
May -- Nick Blackburn
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