Pat Dean has probably imagined tonight’s game hundreds of times during his 27-year-old life. He just pictured himself wearing grey.
Dean grew up in Waterbury, Conn., a Yankees fan who visited the Stadium a couple times a year. He even kept his Yankees fandom alive during his career at Boston College, which couldn’t have been easy.
Presumably that attachment to his home team faded once he was drafted by the Twins, but there’s no doubt tonight is a huge event for Dean’s friends and family. Last Sunday, he started and pitched well against the Red Sox, in a game the Twins won — now he’ll pitch a game that will be televised all over Connecticut.
On the other side is Masahiro Tanaka, a veteran who has faced, and beaten, Minnesota twice before. Tanaka is off to a good start, with a 3.08 ERA in 12 starts.
“It’s an overused cliche in our game, but he’s a guy who has a really good knack for knowing how to pitch,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He knows who he’s facing and what he needs to do to get them out, he knows how to set up at-bats. Not a huge strikeout guy like some people thought he might be, but it’s hard to look for one pitch, and it’s hard to look for any pattern, because it seems like it’s always changing.”
Rain is approaching from the northwest, but forecasts indicate that while it might delay the game, it probably won’t last long enough to wash it out. There are fireworks after the game, so a good crowd is expected. Here are the lineups for game 2 of this four-game set: