When Miami starting pitcher Kevin Slowey takes the mound, the Marlins' bats have tended to be quiet. Not receiving any run support is nothing new for Slowey.
Slowey spent the first five years of his major league career with the Minnesota Twins. While he was a starter in the Minnesota rotation in 2011, before getting injured, Slowey didn't receive much run supports from an average Twins lineup. His 0-8 record proved that.
Heading into the season, Slowey was one of several pitchers Miami signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. From his first appearance forward, Slowey began to impress.
Slowey also has a connection that might have factored into him getting the job. Although there wasn't an obvious second choice if Slowey didn't earn the job, manager Mike Redmond caught Slowey while Redmond was also a member of the Twins.
Through his first four starts of the season, Slowey gave up one, three, one and one run against the Mets, Cubs, Reds, and Phillies, respectively. Despite not allowing any games he has started to get out of hand, Slowey didn't win any of those games because of the offense's poor start.
"Same story," Redmond said after the loss to the Phillies during which Slowey started. "We just can't continue to go out there and ask those guys [pitchers] to do anymore than they're doing. With the way we're going, runs are such a premium."
To begin the season, Slowey is arguably Miami's best starting pitcher and is having the best start of his career. After six starts, Slowey has posted an 0-2 record with an earned run average of 2.15, best among any Marlins starter, and has a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) just a tick above one, at 1.01.
Slowey took the mound against the Phillies and Roy Halladay on Sunday. It marked the second time Slowey opposed Halladay, who Slowey praised before Sunday's contest.
"As a pitcher, watching him throw, watching the way he goes about his business -- you never have any idea whether he just gave up a home run or he just struck out the side," Slowey said. "Every pitch is thrown with the same conviction and the same determination. Those are the things you can control as a pitcher. To see a guy do it, day in, day out for years and years, it's pretty special."
With several months of baseball left, Slowey and Redmond are confident that the offense will get consistent, just as it did when Slowey earned his first victory of the season on Sunday.
"I think we're getting in some good counts," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's just not happening. We're not getting the hits. We're getting in good counts, and we're not able to drive those guys in, for whatever reason. We're having a tough time scoring runs. We're just not able to get that big hit."