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Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Ryan Dempster vs. Andy Pettitte

04.04.13 at 9:34 am ET
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Ryan Dempster

Red Sox fans will get their first regular-season look at Ryan Dempster when he takes the mound Thursday in the last game of the Sox’ series against the Yankees. Andy Pettitte will start for the Yankees.

Between the Cubs and Rangers last year, Dempster put up a 3.38 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He started the year well, but after being traded to the Rangers, his numbers fell off somewhat. His strikeouts increased, but so did his walks, and he allowed a career-high 1.30 homers per nine innings.

However, Dempster’s struggles in Texas were relatively out of character, and the Sox expect him to be more like the player he was in Chicago: a solid, mid-rotation pitcher, averaging around 200 consistent innings a year. In 21 2/3 spring innings, he finished with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

As a National Leaguer for most of his career, Dempster hasn’t seen a lot of the Yankees (before the Cubs, he pitched for the Marlins and Reds). The Red Sox are a bit more familiar with Pettitte, who’s faced them 39 times over his 17-year career, going 18-10. His career WHIP against Boston is an ugly 1.46, though, and he’s struggled especially since 2007 against the Sox.

This year in spring training, Pettitte put up a 3.52 ERA and 1.37 WHIP over 15 1/3 innings. He struck out 14 and walked four.

Pettitte didn’t pitch against the Sox at all last year. The last time he did was Oct. 2, 2010, a 6-5 Yankees win. Pettitte left that game after just four innings, allowing nine hits and three earned runs, though he struck out eight. The only Boston player who played in that game and still is on the active roster is Daniel Nava.

In Dempster’s last start against the Yankees, on Aug. 13 of last season, he went six innings and gave up nine hits and eight earned runs. That, of course, was a very different Yankees team, featuring Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, none of whom will be on the field Thursday.

The best Yankees hitter left in the lineup, Robinson Cano, has only faced Dempster six times, with a double and an RBI. Jacoby Ellsbury has had some success in 24 plate appearances against Pettitte, with a .400/.455/.450 line and 6 RBIs.

Red Sox vs. Pettitte (LHP)

Dustin Pedroia (41 plate appearances): .225 BA/.244 OBP/.325 SLG, 4 doubles, 6 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jonny Gomes (24): .364/.333/.545, 1 home run, 7 RBI, 1 double, 9 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (23): .400/.455/.450, 6 RBI, 1 double, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

David Ross (15): .333/.467/.583, 1 double, 1 triple, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

Mike Napoli (14): .500/.571/.583, 1 double, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Shane Victorino (10): .556/.600/.889, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are both without a hit against Pettitte in three PAs. Saltalamacchia has struck out twice. Nava has one hit, an RBI, and a strikeout in two PAs.

Yankees vs. Dempster (RHP)

Lyle Overbay (13): .286/.615/.571, 2 RBI, 2 doubles, 6 walks, 3 strikeouts

Ichiro Suzuki (8): .333/.429/.667, 1 triple, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Robinson Cano (6): .250/.500/.500, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Vernon Wells (6): .500/.500/.500, 1 strikeout

Brett Gardner (4): .250/.250/.250, 1 strikeout

Eduardo Nunez (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Ben Francisco has no hits and two strikeouts in three PAs against Dempster. Chris Stewart, Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner all are without hits in three, three and one PAs against Dempster, respectively.

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