The Cleveland Indians right-hander has shown a return to that previous form this month after four trying years with the New York Yankees and will look to get a three-game series against the visiting White Sox off to a strong start Monday night.
Pavano’s three-hit shutout against Chicago on June 16, 2004, was part of an 18-8 campaign with the Florida Marlins, and the right-hander parlayed that season into a four-year contract from the Yankees worth nearly $40 million.
Pavano (2-3, 6.61 ERA) finished with nine wins in his injury-plagued seasons in New York before agreeing to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Cleveland in January.
The beginning of his Indians tenure looked like more of the same from his disappointing Yankees days as he gave up 19 runs during an 0-3 start, but Pavano has bounced back in May with consecutive wins, allowing two runs in each.
“The things I’ve been through the last few years with the injuries, I was able to put it behind me,” he said following Wednesday night’s 9-2 victory at Boston.
To win a third consecutive start, Pavano could use a better effort from the Indians’ hitters. Cleveland broke a 20-inning scoreless streak Sunday but managed little else until the final inning of a 5-3 loss to visiting Detroit - the team’s fourth straight defeat and fourth in a row at home.
The Indians (11-21) scored twice in the ninth and had the potential winning run at the plate in Shin-Soo Choo(notes), who flied out to end the game. During its skid, Cleveland has plated six runs while batting .120 (3 for 25) with runners in scoring position and striking out 33 times.
“I know we’re a better team for this,” manager Eric Wedge, whose team has the major league’s worst record, told the Indians’ official Web site. “We’re trying to help them get better. This is a gut check for us.”
The White Sox (14-16) endured their own hitting woes in a series loss to visiting Texas with four runs and 13 hits over the three games. In Sunday’s 7-1 defeat - the sixth in eight games, Chicago tied a season low with two hits and scored its lone run on a wild pitch in the second inning.
“We are definitely not anywhere close to hitting on all cylinders,” first baseman Paul Konerko(notes) said. “You just keep grinding, that’s all you can say. We’re not good right now. We just need to get better.”
To start a seven-game road trip, Chicago will look to Gavin Floyd(notes) (2-2, 6.29) to help snap a four-game slide away from home. Floyd, who hasn’t earned a victory since April 19, won both of his starts last season against the Indians.
While going 0-1 in his last three starts, the right-hander has given up 14 earned runs in 15 1-3 innings.
Indians shortstop Jhonny Peralta(notes), who had three singles Saturday after two days off because of a .127 average in his previous 15 games, has two doubles and two home runs in nine career at-bats against Floyd.
The White Sox won 11 of 18 games in the series last season, but were 4-5 at Progressive Field.