Game 3: Saturday, May 21st – 2:10 ET
J.A. Happ (5-1, 3.40 ERA) vs.
Pat Dean (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
J.A. Happ was one of baseball’s best starters through the first month-plus, but things came unravelled against the Rays.
The tall lefty lasted just two innings, allowing eight runs on seven hits as he appeared unable to miss the Tampa bats. This should be treated as an outlier, however, given his track record since arriving in Pittsburgh at last season’s trade deadline.
His career numbers prior to that point do suggest that regression is on the way, but Happ’s recent success is not a thing of luck and chance. There have been legitimate changes made, and with some adjustments and improved pitch selection, Minnesota should be a strong opportunity for a bounce-back.
Fellow left-hander Pat Dean will be making his first major league start on Saturday after making a long relief appearance against the Detroit Tigers earlier in the week to cover for Jose Berrios.
Dean allowed two earned runs in those five and a third innings, but did give up 10 hits. In his only other MLB relief outing of 2016, he pitches two and two-thirds allowing two runs on four hits.
Expect to see a fastball around 90 miles per hour from Dean, which he’ll throw nearly half the time. He’ll also throw a mid-80s slider one-third of the time and mix in the odd changeup, though he doesn’t have much of a velocity dip between that and his hard stuff.
Over 179 innings at the triple-A level last season, Dean had a 12-11 record with a strong 2.82 ERA.
Next: Stroman and Hughes in a series finale mismatch