A quick look at some numbers on a Sunday evening.
Let's not beat around the bush: our starters have been terrible recently, as a whole. Carl Pavano is the exception, and Francisco Liriano was too until his last start, but as a unit it hasn't been the rotation of a competetive ballclub. Personally, I've tried to keep it all in perspective by calling it a bad stretch, with a number of guys underperforming simutaneously.
Improvement doesn't mean these guys need to start throwing like All-Stars. It just means they need to regress to their career norms. Or, maybe more accurately, they need to progress to their career norms. For the main three strugglers, here are their 2010 ERAs and their career ERAs leading up to this season.
ERA isn't perfect for evaluation, but it does point out one important thing: the rate at which the opposition scores. Absolutely there's more to it: strikeouts, balls in play, strand rates, defense, home runs, walks, etc. But it's results that matter in the end.
Going forward, I do expect all three of these guys to start pitching better. Especially for Baker and Slowey, whose peripherals insist they should be better.
That's my optimism for the evening. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!