Rochester Red Wings Pat Dean Is Rebel with a Curve
You will have to excuse Rochester Red Wings starter Pat Dean if he is thumbing his nose at top baseball insiders. Entering the season he was not considered a top prospect for the Minnesota Twins by either SBNation or Baseball America. Neither publication found any room for the left-hander in their list of highly regarded prospects for the Twins. No worries for Dean, however. He loves proving them all wrong.
The lefty showcased his talent Monday night against the Toledo Mud Hens. Entering the game the Red Wings were reeling from a weekend in Indianapolis where the club lost two of the three games played there. They really needed their ace to step up and get them back in the win column and that is exactly what he did.
Dean (3-2) went the distance on a three-hit shutout, striking out four and walking none in the 4-0 victory over the Mud Hens. It was a completely dominant performance that saw the Rochester starter throw just 111 pitches, 76 of which were strikes. He was in complete command on this night, dominating with both his fastball and his curve, leaving Toledo with no answers at the plate. It was the first complete game of the season for any Red Wings pitcher.
This was a classic pitcher’s duel between Dean and Mud Hens starter Mike Belfiore. Neither team was able to muster any offense through the first five innings, as the scoreboard had nothing but goose eggs to show.
In the sixth inning the Rochester Red Wings finally took the lead. Argenis Diaz and Aaron Hicks led off the inning with back-to-back singles. James Beresford fought off a high fastball to lay down a perfect bunt that moved both runners into scoring position. Reynaldo Rodriguez followed with a walk, loading the bases. That brought up Josmil Pinto who struck out swinging.
Belfiore was laboring, but he was keeping the Red Wings from scoring. That is until Danny Ortiz came to the plate. The left fielder worked the count full, then lined a double into the gap in left-center field, scoring all three runners. That gave Ortiz 23 RBI on the season, tops in the International League.
In the bottom of the seventh Rochester extended their lead. Josh Zeid took over the pitching duties. He issued a one out walk to Jose Martinez, who stole his second base of the year. One out later Aaron Hicks lined a hit into center field that scored Martinez. Hicks turned the hit into his 1oth double of the season when the center fielder meandered on his way to field the ball.
The four runs were plenty enough for Dean on this night. The left-hander gave up a single to lead off the top of the sixth, then retired the next 11 batters in a row. It was the kind of performance that proves that Dean is not just a top prospect; he is THE top prospect. The nine inning shutout lowered his ERA to 1.93, seventh best in the International League.
The three-game series continues tomorrow night. Game time is 7:05 ET. Taylor Rogers (2-1, 2.84 ERA) gets the start for the Rochester Red Wings.
By Robert Pannier