Kevin Slowey: I think it is a great thing. When you come up in this organization, they are very honest with you, and they say they are not going to go out and spend 100 million dollars on an arm. They let you know that you are going to get your chance, and if you put your time in, and get your work done, then you will be given the opportunity. It is neat to look back at all that, and to know that I was given the opportunity.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: This year, like every year in the Minor Leagues, you have had pinpoint control. Do you feel that is your best attribute?
Slowey: Absolutely, and I feel that it is very important for me, because my stuff is pretty average across the board. I don't throw anything that is very overwhelming for hitters, and I don't believe that hitters are uncomfortable when they face me. So, I think me being able to throw it where I want to is very important. It is the difference between me having an okay outing, and a successful outing. When I don't locate my pitches, that is when I get in trouble, and reaching back and getting some more heat is not as important as being able to locate it where I want to.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: With the American League Central overall, how tough is it to pitch in that Division, because there are some big bats in every lineup.
Slowey: I mean it is difficult, for sure, but having played Interleague a couple of times, there are great lineups everywhere. Last year, I threw against Colorado and that is a great lineup, and I faced Milwaukee, and that is a great lineup. This year I'll get to face the Cubs and Cardinals, and they are great teams, but the AL Central is a tough Division for sure. Jim Thome has been hitting home runs forever, and he is a 500+ home run guy, and I know they are great hitters, but it comes down to me executing my pitches. Whether it is AL Central, AL East, whoever, I just need to execute.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: How tough was it to lose three consecutive games by walk-offs?
Slowey: It is tough, but I think that a loss is a loss. All the guys understand that. And if you ask the guys if you are upset that we lost in a walk-off, they are just going to say we lost. It is a loss. But when you lose a close game like those, you look back and wonder if there is one thing I could have done differently, what could I have changed. But one thing that we can take from those games is that we can hang with these guys. We don't feel that we are overmatched. We know they are incredibly talented, but we have a lot of talent too.
TwinCitiesDugout.com: How important was it getting Joe Mauer back?
Slowey: I think it was so important for the team, as a whole. As a pitching staff, I think we were in good hands with Red behind the plate, and Morales as well, and by no means did we feel we would struggle with those guys behind the plate. But when you have a guy like Joe, who's a Gold Glove, batting champion, you are going to miss him. Since he has been back, it is like if he makes an out, guys are surprised. It is great to have him back, and his personality in the clubhouse. He is quiet, but it is a quiet confidence, and he has a lot of confidence in us as a pitching staff. Each one of us are better just by having him back.