Minnesota tries to get a victory for the first time with Slowey on the mound in Monday’s series opener against the visiting Kansas City Royals.
After winning the AL Central last season, a slew of injuries has played a major part in the Twins (61-98) having already secured the league’s worst record. Minnesota, which has its most losses since the 1982 team went 60-102, beat Cleveland 6-4 in 10 innings on Sunday for just its third victory in 22 games.
The Twins need to win two of their final three to avoid 100 losses, but sending Slowey (0-7, 6.54 ERA) to the hill might not help. Minnesota is 0-13 when Slowey pitches this season, and the right-hander has posted a 7.15 ERA in losing each of his seven starts.
No pitcher has finished a season making at least eight starts and losing each time since the St. Louis Browns’ Lou Sleater went 0-8 in 1951.
Slowey on Wednesday became the franchise’s first pitcher to lose seven consecutive starts since Chuck Stobbs, who dropped 10 straight for the Washington Senators in 1957. Slowey was cruising early against the Mariners, tossing five no-hit innings, but ended up allowing five runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-4 loss.
It was the third straight start he yielded at least five runs.
“I’m going to look at the first five innings and try to repeat that,” he said. “We’re running out of time. I’m running out of time.”
This will be Slowey’s first start of the season against the Royals after going 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in four outings against them last year. He had posted a 2.70 ERA in winning his previous four starts versus Kansas City.
Despite the Twins’ struggles, they’re 8-7 against Kansas City. They haven’t lost a season series to the Royals since going 8-11 against them in 2003.
While Minnesota is limping through the season’s final few days, Kansas City is finishing strong. The Royals, 2-1 winners over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, are 10-3 since Sept. 10.
Kansas City counters with Felipe Paulino(notes) (3-6, 4.10), who gave up two runs while striking out eight over five innings Wednesday against Detroit. It was the third time in five starts the right-hander allowed two runs after yielding two or fewer in two of his previous 12.
In his only career start against the Twins on July 17, Paulino surrendered four runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 4-3 loss.