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Where have Carl Pavano’s strikeouts gone?

Jun 14, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

Minnesota Twins starter Pavano pitches to the New York Yankees during the first inning of Game 2 of their MLB ALDS baseball playoffs in Minneapolis

Carl Pavano has put together a strong six-start stretch since beginning the season 2-4 with a 6.64 ERA, logging 43 innings with a 2.49 ERA and just two homers allowed as the Twins have begun to dig out of their huge early hole.

However, his lack of missed bats continues to be worrisome from a 35-year-old pitcher set to earn $8.5 million in 2012. Pavano has just 16 strikeouts in those 43 innings, which is a minuscule rate of 3.3 per nine innings and even lower than his 3.6 per nine innings through seven bad starts.

Pavano can still be effective by limiting walks and homers, but it’ll be tough for the Twins to get their money’s worth over the next season-and-a-half if he can’t get back to at least 5-6 whiffs per nine innings like 2009 and 2010. Not only are his 3.5 strikeouts per nine innings this year the lowest rate in baseball, no other pitcher is below 4.0 and the last pitcher to qualify for the ERA title with a lower strikeout rate was Livan Hernandez at 3.4 in 2008 … for the Twins.

  1. aceshigh11 - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    A team NOT getting its money’s worth out of Carl Pavano??

    Say it ain’t so!!


  2. trevorb06 - Jun 14, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    He was probably given the same ‘pitch to contact’ crap Liriano was told.

    • cur68 - Jun 14, 2011 at 12:16 PM

      I wonder if we can blame Roy Halladay? In the past he’s claimed to ‘pitch to contact’. My arse he does. 9.2k/9 is ‘striking guys out left and right’, IMO. So, because he wins (like, A LOT) everyone maybe thinks “this is the way to pitch” and seem to miss the fact that Old Roy can make his stuff just dance around and he strikes out over 9 guys/game.

      If that’s where the ‘pitch to contact’ thing is coming from then IMO, unless you can drop cutters, sliders and fast balls like Roy, DON’T ‘PITCH TO CONTACT’!

      • oikosjeremy - Jun 14, 2011 at 12:43 PM

        Halladay really was a pitch to contact guy once, although as you point out he’s not really anymore. From 2002 (his first all star year)-2007 he never struck out more than 6.9/9 innings, and one year he was as low as 5.4 K/9. His rate jumped to 7.5 K/9 in 2008 and remained in the high 7s until this year when it’s jumped again.

      • ThatGuy - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:15 PM

        Twins have always preached pitch to contact, well before Roy was doing his thing Radke, Mays, Milton and the like were pitching to contact for the Twins.

      • bleedgreen - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:17 PM

        Halladay (as he was advertised to Phils fans) was supposed to give up singles on the reg, and go for the double play ground balls via his sinker.

        Then he got here and was like LOL@HITS. I’ll just strike people out.

        I like to strike people out.

      • cur68 - Jun 14, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        Back when he was a Blue Jay and he was refining that cutter and slider, he really did get a lot of ground outs, it is true. I used to enjoy watching those starts. These days though he might intend to pitch to contact but he’s got those pitches moving 8, 10, maybe 12 inches from his release point no one much can get lumber on those damn baseballs. I do believe he still intends to allow contact but he’s commanding so much that no can GET contact that matters.

  3. djwhite2710 - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    The Twins have to love it. This guy is the definition of pitch to contact.

  4. skipp - Jun 14, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    Interestingly enough his BABIP is average (.295) and his strand rate is actually low (64.1%) so it’s not like he’s getting lucky. The only thing that seems to be helping him is the fact that he’s keeping the ball in the park (0.74 HR/9). However, the numbers referenced above are over the whole season, not the past 43 innings, which makes sense. Also, it’s worth noting that his last two stars were against KC and CLE where he pitched 17 innings while only giving up 3 runs. If he doesn’t start striking batters out soon we’ll see a lot more of the 6.64 ERA Pavano than the 2.49 ERA version.

  5. jwbiii - Jun 14, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Girls have picked them every one.

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