Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Garza's Big Start

I'm sitting at work watching bits and pieces of the CBS Sportsline Gamecast of the Twins game. Since for some silly reason the good people of Boulder don't pay me to watch the Twins, I have the window open and occasionally take glances to see what's happened, but I don't actually get to follow the flow of the game. That why it was so shocking to see that Kevin Slowey had gone from getting 2 outs in the second inning with no real threats around, to seeing that the Yankees had made it 5-2 following what supposedly was a pretty solid Melky Cabrera dinger. A quick glance at Kevin Slowey's numbers (as of this moment, so this will be changed by the time anyone reads this) shows that his ERA at the moment is sitting at 6.17 for the season. That's more than enough to make a blogger sit back and think "hmmmmmm . . .".

I'm not going to say that I saw this coming, because I didn't. I thought that Slowey had the potential to be solid once he was called up. At the same time, I didn't expect him to be dominant -- a 4.50 ERA would have been more than enough for me to be satisfied. Unfortunatley, Slowey has taken to giving up homeruns at a pace that would make Boof Bonser blush (12 homers in 36.1 innings, as of the 3rd inning of today's game, for Slowey -- 14 homers in 96.1 innings this season for Bonser). The reasons for those homeruns vary quite a bit -- sliders that don't slide, or worse, slide right into the middle of the zone and overconfidence in a fastball that seems to be a bit above average but isn't going to make anyone forget Roger Clemens being the two most notable.

So, with this in mind, it's probably not too difficult to see where I'm going with the title to this post. Matt Garza will get a chance to start a game in the Major Leagues for the first time this season when he takes the mound against the White Sox tomorrow, and he has a truly golden opportunity. Unless Garza goes out on the mound and either (1) throws 60 pitches in 2 innings because he's nibbling with his curve, or (2) shakes off Joe Mauer everytime he asks for a changeup, Garza is almost certainly going to be given a shot after the All-Star break to fill Slowey's spot in the rotation. After all, the alternatives are either to continue sending Slowey to the mound to give up gopher balls, or to restore Ramon Ortiz to a place in the rotation. Frankly, I don't see the Twins doing either unless they simply have no other choice.

This is not the end of the world for Slowey. The coaching staff has now seen what he can do (and what he can't, which is more important right now), where he tends to make mistakes, and how he responds to big league pressure. That means that they can give very specific instructions to the folks down in Rochester regarding what Slowey needs to work on from now until the end of the season (or until his next callup). That process can only make Slowey a better player, and hopefully he'll embrace it.

The Twins should actually make a move tonight to send Slowey to AAA in time for tomorrow's double-header, where an extra body (Garrett Jones or Matt Tolbert if the Twins want a position player, Carmen Cali if they want an extra arm) would be welcome and useful. If they do, Garza's start won't be quite as big for him, because he'll be virtually guaranteed a rotation spot after the break. It will, however, be just as big for we fans, because it will provide a good indication of whether or not the Twins will have a chance to be competitive down the stretch. Either way, tomorrow should be very interesting.

UPDATE: The Twins have done the smart thing and sent Slowey back to AAA, calling up Carmen Cali to give them an extra arm during the White Sox series. We'll see what the Twins do coming out of the break, but for now this was the right move. If only they'd sent Luis Rodriguez down with Slowey and called up Matt Tolbert.



  • At Thu Jul 05, 05:57:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    There are a lot of smart things the Twins could do, like give Nick Punto an outright release and do the same to Tyner.

  • At Thu Jul 05, 07:22:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    I can't agree. Punto is demonstrating that he doesn't belong in the starting lineup, but he's still a useful piece for the Twins. As for Tyner, I really don't understand your argument there -- he's hitting an unspectacular but also not terrible .279, and he's a very useful piece off the bench because of his speed. Why you would pick Tyner rather than Ford for this example escapes me.

  • At Thu Jul 05, 07:52:00 PM , Blogger Twins Territory said...

    Yeah Punto doesn't deserve to go, he just desereves to be a utility player instead of a starter.

    As for Ford and Tyner, one will (should) be going soon when White gets back, and I'd rather keep Tyner than Ford.

    Finally, I agree that maybe L-Rod should get sent down, but I'd rather have Jones for some reason over Tolbert. (But, L-Rod did hit a bomb this past series)


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