Still hoping to revive his career, Pavano looks to help the Indians avoid a second straight loss to the visiting Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.
Pavano (0-2, 9.69 ERA) has gradually improved in three starts for Cleveland (6-11). He made a huge stride in his last outing against the New York Yankees, the team that declined the option on his $39.95 million contract after four miserable years.
After giving up 13 runs over seven innings in his first two starts, he allowed a run and four hits in six innings during his first start in New York since the Yankees let him go. Pavano, though, didn’t factor in the decision after the Indians’ bullpen couldn’t hold a two-run lead in the 7-3 loss Sunday.
“He made his pitches. He gave us an opportunity to win the ballgame,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s shown some toughness. If anybody needed a thick skin, this was it.”
Pavano hopes he can move forward and not have to keep being reminded of his past struggles.
“It’s not about the critics,” Pavano told the Indians’ official Web site. “It’s about winning ballgames.”
The right-hander makes his second start against Minnesota after allowing two runs in seven innings of an 8-2 win on April 9, 2007, while with the Yankees.
Minnesota (8-9) avoided a third straight loss with a 5-1 win over the Indians in Friday’s series opener. It was the first time this season the Twins didn’t trail.
“I hate it,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said with a laugh. “It was more fun the other way. We love being behind.”
Justin Morneau homered and drove in two runs for the Twins, who snapped a four-game road losing streak where they were outscored 31-5 in that stretch.
Morneau is batting .359 (14-for-39) with two homers and 12 RBIs in his last nine games at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. The first baseman, however, is 0-for-3 lifetime against Pavano.
Leadoff hitter Denard Span also added two hits Friday for the Twins and is batting .381 (8-for-21) during his five-game hitting streak.
Kevin Slowey (2-0, 5.89) takes the ball for Minnesota in this contest.
The right-hander has needed to work hard to achieve his favorable record, but has also received plenty of run support. He allowed six hits, including a two-run homer to Torii Hunter, in seven innings of a 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.
“I still have plenty to work on, but I felt overall I was a little more comfortable and composed,” said Slowey, who allowed 10 runs and 22 hits in his previous two starts.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.48 ERA in four starts against Cleveland, with both defeats coming in his last two outings versus the Indians.
Grady Sizemore is 4-for-12 with a triple, homer and three RBIs against Slowey. He was 2-for-4 with the lone RBI on Friday for the Indians, who have alternated wins and losses in their last nine games.