The Curse of Carl Pavano

Pavano, who recorded his first career win over the Yankees, surrendered back-to-back home runs in the first inning to Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson. But he found his form, holding the Yankees scoreless over the next six innings.

via Yankees’ Strong Start Ruined by Pavano’s Finish – NYTimes.com.

Carl Pavano, can you believe it, notched his first career win against the Yankees, and I could have sworn he was beating them like a drum ever since he left the club after the 2008 season, punching the clock on an especially dreary threefour-year stint.

He hasn’t, of course. Beaten them like a drum, I mean. Not really. Monday’s startling win was only Pavano’s third career start against the Yankees since then, but he has been drearily effective in every game. He held the Yankees to four hits and a run in six innings on April 19, 2009, a game the Yankees actually won; and he pitched seven and a third innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, in a 5-4 Twins victory on May 31 of that year.

In fact, since leaving the Yankees, and before last night (because I don’t want to do the math), Pavano is 41-37 with a 4.38 earned run average in 101 starts — numbers that would have earned him consistently warm applause at Yankee Stadium during pregame introductions. As it was, his E.R.A. ballooned to 5.00 in just 26 starts with the Yankees. He became a synonym for the mismanaged injury, the pampered buffoon.

Now, for whatever reason, he’s a capable and cagey veteran starter. Exactly the kind of schnook the Yankees of a few seasons ago were looking for when they signed him.

“I learned a lot while I was here,” Pavano told reporters at Yankee Stadium. “I went through a lot, I learned a lot, I grew a lot. It’s more gratifying what I’m doing now than if I were to have done it then, to be honest with you, after everything I went through.”

So, you know, we’re glad all that worked out.

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