In one game, the dynamic of the AL East has changed. Demspter drilled A-Rod to the joy of the fans and satisfied whatever personal vendetta he had, but the plunking backfired. At the time of the HBP the Sox were up 2-0, at the end of the inning the game was tied up. But the Yankees had all the momentum in the world. Manager Joe Girardi exploded from the dugout, justly defending his player, screaming red-faced, and slamming his hat to the ground. Girardi would be ejected, but the Yankees rallied around the emotional tirade and would go on to take two of three games in a hostile, playoff-like Fenway.
Dempster’s focus should not have been on plunking A-Rod, but getting him out; especially in the heat of a pennant race. Win, above all else.
The Sox are on thin ice. The Yankees were surging before the intense Sunday night game, now they are looking to make a late season run. All the momentum has swung to them. The Sox are 4-6 in their last ten and the Yanks are 7-3.
But the Yankees are the least of our worries. The Rays pose a much more imminent threat for the division lead being only a game.
The Sox are scuffling and about to embark on a dangerous six game west coast swing. The Giants aren’t the team they’ve been the past two years, but the Sox will face a hot Tim Lincecum in the series opener. Then they must deal with the scorching, blazing, smoking, white, red, hot Dodgers. They are on a dominant 42-9 run. The Sox are vulnerable right now; they must not take the Giants lightly, and then bring everything they have against the Dodgers.
When will Clay return? Courtesy of bostonherald.com
I leave town for three days and everything in Boston sports news seems to hit the fan. Come on people, I went away to do some good, charitable work, and Clay Buchholz is on hold for what seems to be the indefinite future. Jon Lester gave us a scare on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Koji Uehara has been named closer and Brandon Snyder got the call up to Boston. And that’s just the Red Sox. Don’t get me started about the Celtics and the Patriots. Thanks Aaron Hernandez for making “chicken-and-beer-gate” look like, well, chicken [bleep]. I was gone for three days.
Are we in trouble? I’m not sure just yet. On paper things look promising. In personnel, and in practice, they are in progress. Now is the time for the players to pull together and prove that the strength of this team is their most valuable asset. The former minor league players need to make the most of their promotions, too. These players must make good because my journalistic integrity is on the line. Oh, helping the Sox earn an American League East title would be nice, too.
Pitching poses a greater concern than ever. What do we have left? A few of the starting five, especially Ryan Dempster, are only successful when the offense is hot. Felix Doubront runs hot and cold. Saturday he seemed solid, but the bats didn’t back him up. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. John Farrell is very crafty, so I am sure he will come up with a winning pitching strategy.
Courtesy of nesn.com
OK, here are the facts: fans can trust that we have good overall pitching in the Red Sox five-man rotation. The top three guys are Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and John Lackey when he runs hot, which he did on Saturday. I do worry when Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster pitch. Of the two of them I probably bite my nails more often when Dempster is on the mound. That damn commercial, that runs during games aired on NESN, of him talking about inspiring kids who come to watch ballgames at Fenway just adds insult to injury.
Dempster must improve prior to the middle innings. I doubt that will happen.The team can send him down, or we need a set-up man for those middle innings. Koji Uehara works well in that capacity right now. Koji should be in for more than one inning. I think we could get two out of him in the middle of games. Why haven’t we tried that? Let’s go even deeper. You dig? Why doesn’t Koji pitch his one inning at the end of the game? Meanwhile, another guy fills the setup position, like maybe Alfredo Aceves. Farrell has to try something with Koji and Aceves, or we will continue to lose that one game every rotation.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Well, different results are not happening. What we need are “Hope and Change.” President Obama may not have been able to deliver on them (yet), but I believe John Farrell can.
What are your thoughts on Dempster’s performance?
The rotation run-down continues with Ryan Dempster.
After strong starts to the season from Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, right-hander Ryan Dempster will look to continue the trend of quality outings. Dempster signed with the Sox back in December and made his debut against the Yankees. The start didn’t exactly go as planned (4 BB, 101 pitches, 5 IP). But he did manage to strike out eight. He looked better last night limiting damage despite two errors. In his first tour in the AL Dempster rode the struggle bus from start to start. His ERA was no exception to the saying everything is bigger in Texas. It shot up from 2.25 to a 5.09–he got shelled so bad it looked like the Alamo.
From this torching in Texas many questions arose: Was Dempster just out of gas, his career going downhill? Was he too accustomed to the NL? The Red Sox believe that the answer to the first question is no, after signing him for two years at 26 million. But the latter question appeared to be a yes. Before donning a Ranger uniform, Dempster’s ERA hadn’t climbed above 4.80 since 2003. But the heavy hitting AL changed that and now it’s up to Dempster to adapt. After a two solid starts it appears that he has.
Dempster has matched his career averages so far, but one number jumps out. His strike out per nine ratio (K/9) is an astronomical 13.5. If you’ve seen any of his starts the high k rate jumps out at you since Dempster hasn’t lasted more than five innings in either start. While the strike outs are a welcome sight, the high walk rate is like seeing Josh Beckett on the mound last year, fat.
The homers Dempster has let up also may jump out, but the stats suggest some bad luck. Dempster’s high ground ball percentage (GB %), 52%, and his low fly ball percentage (FB %), 34.8%, would suggest he is actually keeping the ball in the park. Except for his freaky 25% home run to fly ball percentage (HR/FB) begs to differ. That crooked number should even out and Dempster should find himself back to the 10-11% HR/FB he is used to.
Look for a Redempster season from the man Cubs nation likes to call The Dumpster. But as the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.
(Thanks to fangraphs.com for the stats)