Last night, we all watched the Twins get pounded into the ground by Toronto 13-2. Twins pitchers allowed 6 home runs in the process. 3 of those home runs, were allowed by Francisco Liriano, who had only allowed 6 before that start. And to add to the misery of that beating, it happened at Target Field, a place where opposing teams suffer a beating. I'm not pushing the panic button...yet. And tonight the Twins send Carl Pavano to the mound, and his start might just tell us how ready this team is for the postseason.
You may remember the Twins starters went through a similar phase to what they are going through now back in June. Four out of the five starters struggled to make it out of the 4th inning. The one who didn't was Carl Pavano. In his five June starts he went 4-1 and pitched no fewer than 7 innings in any of those starts. At one point he threw back to back complete games. He carried the starting staff, and saved the bullpen arms. He has by far been the most consistent pitcher for the Twins this season. And tonight, they need that calming veteran presence on the mound once more to give everyone, including the bullpen, a sigh of relief for a night. I'm not saying he needs to throw a complete game shutout. He needs a 7 inning, 2-3 runs allowed, keep the team in the game performance. You may remember last year Pavano pitched one of the best games in the postseason. 7 innings, 2 earned runs. But he took the loss as his counter part Andy Pettite was simply better. I would love nothing more than for that Carl Pavano to appear once again and keep the Twins in the game.
As before said, the Twins haven't played in close games lately. But to be fair most of them have been without the A-lineup on the field. But, none the less, you would want them to play in tighter games to better prepare for next week. Because honestly, I don't want a team that will get discouraged once they are trailing in a game in the postseason. That does not bode well whether you are facing the Yankees or Rays. Some might argue that these last 7 games have meant absolutely nothing. I give you that for the road trip, but these final four home games, you need your A-game. And what better way for the pitching staff to tune up for the postseason, then to face the most powerful team in baseball. But last night, they did not fare well at all. And that's why Carl Pavano will once again save the staff and the Twins. Because if he doesn't, the panic button gets harder and harder not to push.