A couple weeks ago, the Twins were looking to the trade market to find their ace. Today, there is no question that the rotation savior (saviour for you British cats) is none other than Carl Pavano.
But the question is: Was it really the mustache? One could definitely argue the point. Since Pavano's "stachitization" he is 7-1 with an astounding four complete games - two of which were shutouts.
In fact, Pavano currently sits among the leaders in several categories:
Wins: 2nd (12)
Complete Games: 2nd (5)
Innings Pitched: 3rd (143.2)
Pavano's shrinking 3.26 ERA is also good enough for 12th in the league. It wouldn't be too much of a shocker for Pavano to finish towards the top in Cy Young voting this season.
Another interesting point is Pavano's health. I realize the advent of the 'stache is a big deal, but a healthy Pavano is the moneymaker. The Yankees saw a whole lot of unhealthy Pavano, which is what ultimately sent him packing for Cleveland. The Indians and Twins saw a hint of vintage Pavano in the 2009 season, but nothing the likes of his 2010 campaign. In 2004, Pavano finished the year with an 18-8 record and an ERA of 3.00. Looks like we'll see similar numbers by the end of this year.
From a Twins' perspective, I've been drooling over Pavano's stats as of late. I just can't help but love the fact that the Yankees got none of this. Pavano was 9-8 in three years for the Yanks. He must like Minnesota.
My last question is this: Will the Twins still continue their supposed pursuit of Dan Haren? Or will they lock down Pavano and spend some cash and prospects elsewhere? If I were Billy Smith, I'd pour some resources into acquiring a third baseman and a couple lock-down relievers. But hey, Pavano/Haren/Liriano looks pretty good, too.
So here's to you, Carl Pavano, and your righteous mustache: You are now the official, bonafide, specified ace of the Minnesota starting five. Handle with care!