Armed with a ferocious “soup strainer” on his upper lip, Pavano has reeled off two straight complete game victories.
The Twins right-hander didn’t just toss those gems against anyone. On June 21, he beat Roy Halladay and the Phillies and Saturday he threw a shutout against Johan Santana and the Mets.
Pavano is now 9-5 on the season and has seemed to have found a place to land in Minnesota. He was acquired last August from the Indians and since his arrival, has reverted to the form that many thought he’d make a career out of.
Of course, his whole career hasn’t always played out the way it was supposed to. After finding success with the Marlins — he was an All-Star in 2004 — Pavano signed with the Yankees. He was paid big money and came with high expectations, but injuries and questions about his toughness made his tenure in the Bronx a living nightmare.
After making 26 starts in three seasons with the Bombers, the Indians gave Pavano a second chance in 2009. He struggled a little with the Tribe though (9-8, 5.37 ERA), before being traded to the Twins.
He made a start in the 2009 ALDS against the Yankees and, even though he took the loss, threw well for the Twins, going seven strong innings surrendering just two earned runs.
But Pavano hasn’t really cemented his comeback until recently. The two consecutive complete game efforts have been the highlight of a stretch in which Pavano has won four consecutive starts while posting a 1.36 ERA.
Pavano is even finding success at the plate too. He finished off interleague play with a cool .500 batting average, picking up singles in three of his six at-bats.
Every baseball analyst in the world could speculate what the reasons for Pavano’s turnaround have been, but to the naked eye, the reason is quite clear — it’s gotta be the ‘stache.
Luckily, StarTribune.com has a tremendously in-depth breakdown of Pavano’s facial hair exploits for this season. One thing is certainly clear too. As the lip moss has gotten thicker, Pavano’s numbers have gotten better. Surely, this is more than a coincidence.
Twins fans have embraced the mustache whole-heartedly and have started to appropriately nickname Pavano “Super Pavario.”
And why wouldn’t they be excited about Pavano’s re-invention of himself as a pitcher and a mustachioed man? With Pavano helping lead the way, the Twins sit right where they want to be – in first place atop of the AL Central.