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John Farrell explains decision to leave in Ryan Dempster

05.19.13 at 12:34 am ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — It had never happened to John Farrell before. The Red Sox manager hadn’t ever gone to the mound and allowed a pitcher to talk him into staying in a game.

But that’s exactly what happened Saturday night.

With Ryan Dempster sitting at 122 pitches (four more than any Red Sox pitcher had thrown in a single game this season), the Red Sox clinging to a three-run lead with two outs in the fifth inning and Minnesota’s Jamey Carroll coming up, Farrell strolled to the mound for what appeared to be the execution of a pitching change.

But Dempster told his manager he had enough left to get that inning’s final out. That was good enough for Farrell.

“Well, he kind of talked his way into it,” said Farrell of Dempster after the Red Sox’ 12-5 win over Minnesota. “In hindsight, probably should have made the move at the time, but still, it’€™s a veteran guy who was fine physically in terms of his arm, he didn’€™t feel anything. But trying to get him the last out of the fifth to give him a chance to win.”

Five pitches later, Carroll rifled a single into right, scoring Pedro Florimon and bringing up the potential game-tying run to the plate in the form of Joe Mauer. That would be it for Dempster, whose pitch total was the highest since Sept. 13, 2011, and marked just the second time since 2001 he had reached such heights.

“Well, [pitching coach] Juan [Nieves] and I were talking about the fact I make a trip to the mound and don’€™t make a pitching change, that’€™s a rarity,” Farrell said. “You want to give the guy every opportunity to record a win but at that point the game was in jeopardy as well as the high number of pitches. It’€™s a delicate balance but at some point that decision had to be made.”

“He just asked me if I had enough in the tank to get the last hitter. I did. I made a good pitch,” said Dempster, who threw four sliders and a splitter to Carroll. “Jamey went out and hit a pitch a foot off the plate down around the other batter’s box. He threw his bat at it and hats off to him. I made a pitch there and it wasn’€™t quite good enough.”

The end result was a frustrating, 4 2/3-inning outing in which the starter allowed five runs on eight hits and six walks.

“I just couldn’€™t throw it where I wanted to throw it,” Dempster said of his fastball. “I kept missing away with it, missing up with it, missing off the plate with it. I didn’€™t really have any of my pitches tonight. That’€™s frustrating when you’€™re out there and can’€™t throw your fastball where you want, can’€™t throw your split where you want and can’€™t throw your slider where you want. Just have to work on it between starts and get them next time.”

Neither Farrell nor Dempster thought that extra rest would be needed despite the elevated pitch count. The last time he totaled as many pitches, the righty did bounce back to turn in two solid outings (13 innings, 4 runs).

“I’€™m a pretty good judge of my body. I’€™m going to do what I need to get ready,” the pitcher said. He added, “I was tired. But you’€™ve just got to go out there and recover. Recovery days are huge.”

Read More: John Farrell, Ryan Dempster,
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