June 29, 2008
This afternoon in Minneapolis, Kevin Slowey dunked on Milwaukee hitters as though he were Gopher State native Prince and the Brewers a group of awestruck Charlie Murphys.
In the air-conditioned comforts of the Metrodome, the crafty 24-year-old hurled a three-hit complete game shutout, the first of his career. Slowey whiffed a season-high eight batters, and, get this, walked none.
More performances like that and Nick Blackburn (pictured above) won't be the only person willing to express affections for Slowey.
Including today's spectacular effort, the Twinkies righty has racked three wins and compiled a microscopic 0.93 ERA and 0.72 WHIP in his past 29 innings. More eye-opening, his pinpoint accuracy (0.62 BB/9) has generated appreciable strikeout totals (7.44 K/9) over that stretch, temporarily shedding his soft-tosser label.
Critics contend that his 47.5 FB%, 1.25 HR/9 and steady diet of pedestrian fastballs (88-92 mph) will eventually yield disastrous results, but ignore their misperceptions.
Yes, Slowey does rely heavily on his heater, but his ability to paint corners and bewilder hitters with a variety of secondary pitches - slider, change and curve - proves his long-term rigidness. After today's gem, Ron Gardenhire expressed similar feelings to MLB.com:
"He understands. I think we saw him get knocked around a little bit and then he went down and understood a little bit more about what it took to be up here," manager Ron Gardenhire said of Slowey's tenure with the team last season. "You can't just pump fastballs. You have to use a mix of pitches and you have to change speeds. I think since he's come back, he's [been] very intelligent. He watches other pitchers and he learns. You expect him to get better as we go along up here."
With the Twins smoking offensively and given Slowey's tremendous June achievements, he's quickly developing into a dependable staff caboose in 12-team mixed leagues. Its conceivable Slowey, who was owned in fewer than five percent of Yahoo! leagues entering the week, could post a sub-4.00 ERA and sensational WHIP numbers over the second-half.
It appears Slowey is the new Brad Radke.
• First reported in last night's Weekly Rundown, the Tigers slugger Magglio Ordonez was felled by a right oblique strain on Saturday. This afternoon, he was placed on the 15-day DL. Muscle man Matt Joyce, who blasted five homers in 53 at-bats with the senior club earlier this season, was recalled from Triple-A Toledo.
Joyce, Clete Thomas and Marcus Thames will all see an expanded role with Ordonez sidelined. Of the three, Thames merits the most short-term value. In 63 June at-bats the 31-year-old bomber has smacked nine homers. Owners in 12-team leagues seeking a power boost should add the 70 percent available outfielder.
• OBP nincompoop Juan Pierre exited in the sixth inning with a left knee injury versus the cross-town rival Angels. Currently he is listed as day-to-day. With BA black hole Andruw Jones expected to return later this week, the Dodgers will likely exercise extreme caution with Pierre. If the speedster returns to the lineup promptly, Joe Torre plans to platoon Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp in right. Dreadful, we know.
• Searing KC outfielder David DeJesus suffered bruised ribs in a head-on collision with St. Louis catcher Jason LaRue. The 22.2 percent owned centerfielder, who has laced a .361 BA with four homers, 19 RBIs, 18 runs and three steals this month, is listed as day-to-day.
• Libido-arousing Texas prospect Chris Davis tattooed a hanging Jamie Moyer curveball 410-feet for his second homer in three days. The 22-year-old Flexin' Texan, who slapped 10 homers in 111 at-bats with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, has officially hit Y! waiver wires. Although he's locked in a righty/lefty platoon with fellow rookie Max Ramirez, he's worth adding in 14-team and deeper mixed leagues. With Hank Blalock now not expected back until after the All-Star break, Davis will be a valuable power source over the next couple of weeks.
• Notoriously streaky outfielder John Bowker recorded his second three-hit game in less than a week, going 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs against Oakland. Since May 1, the 0.89 percent owned Giant has tallied a respectable .294 BA with 5 homers and 24 RBI.
• Felix Hernandez will not start Tuesday as originally hoped. No return date has been announced, but he could take the ball this weekend against Detroit. Unwavering King Felix supporter, Brandon Funston, remains inconsolable.