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Carl Pavano has proven to be a workhorse for the Twins, having thrown for 220 innings in each of his last two seasons. He also had almost 200 innings in 2009, the year he split between the Cleveland Indians and Twins. Aside from his injury-plagued stint in New York, Pavano has thrown for nearly 1,100 innings in his last five full seasons.
Pavano was so durable that he tied for the AL lead in complete games with seven in 2010.
Like every other pitcher the Twins have, Pavano pitches to contact and is coming off a career low of 4.14 K/9. The problem with that for Pavano is he needs ground balls and good defense to be successful.
Look at the difference between 2010 and 2011: In 2010 he had a ground-ball percentage of 51.2 percent, a BABIP of .281 and his left-on-base percentage was 74 percent. The result was the second-best season of his career.
Contrast that to 2011 where his ground-ball percentage dropped to 50.6 percent, his BABIP shot up to .306 and his left-on-base percentage dipped to 67.3 percent. Those numbers helped lead to the most hits given up by any pitcher in baseball, a tie for career high in losses at 13 along with four fewer complete games from 2010.
On just about every other team Pavano would be a No. 3 or No. 4 starter because of his ability to limit walks and eat innings. For the Twins he is their No. 1 based mainly on his durability. That's not Pavano's fault though, so don't blame him.
The problems with the Twins rotation are just beginning.