Scott Baker has been the only exception to the starting rotation's funk since the season's halfway point. His departure to the DL due to continued elbow soreness leaves behind a rather unimpressive bunch.
Here are the remaining Twins starters' marks in ERA and WHIP since the beginning of July:
Brian Duensing: 4.30 ERA / 1.33 WHIP
Francisco Liriano: 5.04 ERA / 1.66 WHIP
Carl Pavano: 5.84 ERA / 1.46 WHIP
Nick Blackburn: 7.34 ERA / 2.03 WHIP
Duensing is pacing the group with his average numbers, and from there it just deteriorates, with Blackburn -- who has amazingly allowed an average of two base runners per inning over his past seven starts -- serving as the anchor.
In other words, the bar is not set very high for Kevin Slowey.
Recalled to fill Baker's vacant rotation spot, Slowey will start in Cleveland on Sunday. I said at the beginning of the month that I felt it was "time to set this rift aside and let Slowey help the Twins again," so I'm pleased he's getting an opportunity.
And, while Twins fans might find this a sad fact, all Slowey needs to do is pitch up to his mediocre career norms (4.43 ERA and 1.29 WHIP) and he's got a chance to be the team's best starter from here on out. Given the uncertainties that currently surround the health statuses of Baker and Kyle Gibson, not to mention the competence of Carl Pavano and Nick Blackburn, trading Slowey might be a luxury the Twins can no longer afford.
If the embattled righty can pitch well down the stretch and rebuild bridges with his coaches and teammates, it would provide a meaningful positive development as this mercilessly awful season winds down.