In retrospect, perhaps pitting Samuel Deduno against the league’s top offense for his 2013 debut was not the greatest of ideas.
Then again, perhaps you could have said the same thing about the Dominican Republic squad prior to slotting the 29-year-old against the United States and Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic either. Heroes often emerge from trials by fire, and for the Minnesota Twins, a matchup against the divisional rival Detroit Tigers on the heels of a nine-game losing streak was as good of a test as there was.
Instead of emerging as the new blood that snapped the team out of a slump, however, Deduno simply got torched.
Not only that, but his outing was made even less memorable thanks to the near no-no that Anibal Sanchez put up for the Tigers. By the time Deduno had left the mound in the sixth after having given up nine hits over 5.1 IP — including a home run to Don Kelly, of all people — nobody even paid attention because of the other guy on the mound.
Then again, it’s not as though he helped himself out here. Giving up total of six earned runs (one was inherited by reliever Ryan Pressly), the biggest vice in his game — walks — was the one that ultimately led to his demise.
In fact, it was the bases-loaded free pass that Deduno gave to Omar Infante in the second inning that scored the Tigers’ first run against him. Not only that, but the inability to attack the strike zone there also meant that Miguel Cabrera was going to come up with the bases juiced, and well … it doesn’t take a baseball expert to tell you that situations like that don’t usually end well.
The Twins knew that this was a risk coming in, of course.
Though Deduno had posted a strong 2.70 ERA over three starts in Triple-A in 2013, it also came with the caveat of 10 walks in 16.2 innings. As good as his stuff may have been (17 strikeouts in that stretch), the lack of control (5.1 BB/9 over nine years in the minors) was always going to remain a major hurdle to any sustained success he might have in the big leagues.
On Friday, the Twins, now losers of 10 in a row, found out the hard way that heroes aren’t always what they seem.