|Ryan Dempster on MFB: Red Sox ‘need a big-time shot from the inside’||05.28.14 at 2:56 pm ET|
MLB Network analyst and former pitcher Ryan Dempster joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss Clay Buchholz and the current state of the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
“No [regrets.] Obviously, there’s parts of you that misses it, but given everything and all the circumstances. … I’m super at peace with my decision,” Dempster said. “I’ve been throwing to my son’s Little League team quite a bit, and I tell you, I get about 60 pitches in and I get pretty sore, so I think I made the right choice.”
Buchholz has underwhelmed all season, as the righty currently boasts a 2-4 record with a 7.02 ERA and 1.98 WHIP. In his last start against the Braves on Monday, Buchholz surrendered six earned runs while walking a career-high eight batters.
“I don’t know for certain and he doesn’t want to say anything because he battled it all last year and he feels like it’s a responsibility to be out there,” Dempster said. “I don’t know if he’s going through a confidence issue. I’ve been there. … In 2011, I started April off 0-4 with a 9.50 ERA, that’s hard to do. … You’ve just got to find a way to battle through that and try to remember all the good things you’ve done and all the positive things you’ve done.”
Demspter added: “It’s a mental game out there and it’s a tough game, so I just think that you’ve really just got to battle through it. … He doesn’t look sharp. You go through those times and it’s a grind, but you’ve got to figure out a way to get through it.”
While the Red Sox have struggled to remain at .500 throughout the season, Dempster stated that it takes time for a roster to mesh at the start of a new year.
“It was surprising because I know the talent that’s in there, but at the same time, just like going into the 2013 season, it was a whole different roster than the 2012 season. … It takes a little while to jell. … Two weeks ago, they’re a game over .500 and a game out of first place and everybody’s talking about they’re right there again, and they just fell into a slump. … Adversity is their middle name, they’re ready for anything and they’re up for the challenge. I look forward to seeing them go out there and compete for the division again towards the end of the season.”
“I think they need a big-time shot from the inside. … Some guys are struggling a little bit and you lose a guy like Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of the lineup who not only just gets on base a lot but is a threat when he’s on base. … [Mike] Napoli‘s hurt and [Shane] Victorino‘s out and [Will] Middlebrooks has been hurt off and on and also hasn’t performed like he’s capable of performing, so they just need somebody in the lineup to step up.”
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘There’s a good vibe coming out of camp’||02.21.14 at 9:00 am ET|
Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning from spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., to revel in the 2013 World Series championship and look ahead to 2014. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Lucchino acknowledged that there’s never been a more relaxed and joyous feeling heading to spring training.
“I think that’s fair to say. There was something special about the win last year, the way it happened, the worst-to-first thing, the idea that all of you guys in the media were completely wrong,” Lucchino said. “There were so many sources of satisfaction. And of course the Boston Strong element that came into it. It was terrific.
“But there’s also down here right now — and maybe as a consequence of that, and because of the people we have in leadership positions here — there is a good vibe coming out of camp. There’s a good feeling down here. Without going into the detail on it, John Farrell made a major point of the closeness, the unity of the club last year. And all signs point in that direction again this year.”
David Ortiz made news with his public request for a contract extension, and Lucchino indicated that he takes no offense with Ortiz’s intention.
“I think we would like to get something done with David,” Lucchino said. “But anything that related to David Ortiz is a big issue. He’s been such a critical part of the success of the team over the last decade. He’s the only one, I guess, who’s been here in uniform for all three of our wins over the last decade. The role he plays both for the Red Sox and in baseball, those roles are remarkable. So anything that relates to his well-being, his focus, possible distraction, I think that qualifies as a semi-big deal.”
Added Lucchino: “We are responding to a request that came to us from David’s representative. I think that’s fair to say. He was under contract. But if you have the kind of year that David had and you’re at the stage of his career that he is, it’s not entirely surprising.”
Pitcher Ryan Demspter announced Sunday that he would skip the 2014 season, and Lucchino said he was as surprised as the rest of Red Sox Nation by Dempster’s decision.
“I was not only surprised, I was shocked,” Lucchino said. “Yet when I heard him explain it and I heard a little more about the rationale for it, my admiration for him increased dramatically. I don’t remember any other guys that have done that. ‘¦ Dempster’s role on this team was exceptional last year. I know you’ve probably talked to him. He was such a leader, such a source of the solid chemistry that came together last year. He is going to be missed enormously. He’s one of the most well-liked and respected players I’ve ever been associated with. I hope we can get him to come back and do some things this year. Maybe for NESN, maybe in some other way.”
|David Ross on M&M: Ryan Dempster ‘going to be greatly missed’||02.17.14 at 3:27 pm ET|
Red Sox catcher David Ross joined Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the upcoming season, his opinion on Ryan Dempster taking the year off, and the possibility of him managing a team one day. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Ross sees a good work ethic in the 2014 group that also was present for the 2013 group.
“I think the personality of our group, the personality of, like you said, last year our biggest losing streak was no more than three in a row,” Ross said. “So, when you’ve got guys [who] come in each day, work their tails off, lay it out all on the line, every night, go home that night, come back and do the same thing, that’s the personality we had last year as a group. I think we’ll be the same, personality wise, as that group. It should help us out really well.”
When Ben Cherington was looking around for catchers, he gave Ross a call for some information on candidates.
“I gave him my opinion on all the guys, just as a competitor, if I knew any of the guys I gave him my opinion,” Ross said. “I think he does that with a big group and then kind of gets some feedback.”
With Dempster announcing that he wouldn’t pitch in 2014 on Sunday, Ross recalled his best story with the pitcher.
“We landed in Toronto, and he’s from Canada, so he walks to the front of the bus and starts talking on the mic,” Ross said. “And he had that whole bus, he was talking in his Harry Caray voice, and he was talking, giving us like a tour of Toronto as we drove into, like a 30-minute tour, as we drove into the city from the airport. And I literally, I have never, I mean, signing to asking questions to interviewing, being two different people. I mean he was just putting a show on. It was the first time he just kind of let his whole personality out. I’ve never witnessed anything better than that. He’s going to be greatly missed as far as a competitor, teammate, person, on and off the field. Just a quality quality human being.”
As he nears the end of his playing career, Ross said he would like to give managing a shot one day.
“I love being around the game, I love talking the game, and I feel like you’re a manager on the field,” Ross said. “I’m game-managing when I’m catching, I think, I thought that’s what I did best in the World Series, honestly, I was just managing the game and how it all played out. That’s one of my strengths. Do I want to manage? I don’t know. I love competing right now and I love the team concept. I don’t want to get out of this game, I love this game. If somebody gave me an opportunity to manage, I’d jump at the chance to do it, but I don’t know if there’s anyone dumb enough to give me an opportunity to manage, to be honest with you.”
|Jake Peavy on M&M: ‘We’re going to miss Ryan [Dempster]’||at 12:17 pm ET|
Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy talked with Lou Merloni at spring training on Monday about Ryan Dempster‘s announcement that he will sit out the 2014 season. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I think everybody was surprised, but at the same time, as surprised as we were, you’ve got to be supportive,” Peavy said of Dempster’s Sunday announcement. “Something obviously he’s thought through, wasn’t an impulse, impulsive decision. We’re happy for Ryan if he’s happy, but he’s certainly going to be missed in more ways than one.”
Despite being teammates with Dempster for a short amount of time, Peavy ranks him as one of the best he’s ever had.
“Just a great, great teammate, and I spoke to my brother yesterday and said it’s amazing that you could say this guy is one of your top few teammates of all time when you only spent a few, really three months with the guy, but that certainly was the case with Ryan,” Peavy said. “I think anybody in here will tell you the same thing, and he’ll be missed, but as we had dinner with him yesterday, we made sure he’ll be around a little bit this year.”
Peavy noted how Dempster never panicked and always kept things loose for his teammates.
“I think you see the things, when we went on that West Coast swing and didn’t play that well in San Francisco, when things were going bad, Demp never gave into that panic mode and just always tried to do his part in keeping things light and understanding that we couldn’t get tight,” Peavy said. “We had a great group, we had a great ball club, we were prepared, and as long as we played nice and relaxed, our talent would come out and we would end up where we wanted to be.”
Added Peavy: “I think that’s the biggest thing with me, with Demp is just never, always take things as serious as you need to take them to do well, but at the same time don’t press press press, because at the end of the day you don’t get the best out of yourself or your teammates if you’re doing that.”
|Ryan Dempster explains decision to walk away||02.16.14 at 3:07 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The easy thing would have been to show up, work halfheartedly to rehab his physical ails and to keep cashing the paychecks that would have totaled $13.25 million in 2014. But that prospect had little appeal to Ryan Dempster.
The 36-year-old — who turns 37 in May — did not want to go through the motions of a 20th professional season (and 17th year in the big leagues). Rather than pitching at a level to which he was unaccustomed, or merely spending time in a trainer’s room while collecting salary, Dempster started conversations with the Red Sox in the last two weeks to let the team know that he was inclined not to pitch in 2014. Instead, he decided to step away from the game to spend more time with his three children.
On Sunday, he made that decision public, saying that — while unprepared to say that he is retiring — he was going to take off the coming season.
“After a long offseason and thinking about things and seeing where I was at both physically and personally, I just made the decision that I’m not going to pitch in the 2014 season and go from there,” said Dempster. “I had an incredible run, a chance to play 16 years in the major leagues and be around a lot of great teammates, made a lot of good friendships, a lot of great memories, you know, but I just feel that given where I’m at with my health, with how I feel personally, I just feel like it’s in the best interest of both myself and the organization as a team to not play this year. I don’t feel like I can compete or produce like I’m accustomed to. I’m not going to play this year and instead I’m going to be a spectator and a fan and cheer on all these great teammates that I have and go out there and watch them win another World Series.”
Dempster said that the number of physical challenges that he faced as a pitcher had mounted in recent years. In particular, he said that the condition of his neck — he cited disc issues and a bone spur — was going to limit his ability to compete at a level with which he was comfortable.
“I could have a choice trying to spend the entire season trying to work through those and trying to be able to pitch but I just felt like it’s something that’s preventing me from doing the job I want to do and I’m not going to go out there and put my team at a disadvantage or me at a disadvantage by not being able to compete the way I’m able to compete,” said Dempster. “And I’m totally comfortable with it. I’m at peace with my decision.
“I’m not ready,” he added. “I’m both physically and mentally not ready to go out there and do my job. I have too much respect for this game, too much respect for my teammates, and for the game of baseball and for the organization to go out there and not be ready. I’ve always taken great pride in being able to be prepared and be ready to go out there and perform and I’m not ready to do that so I’m not going to out there and half-ass it and not be a 100 percent to committed to that.” Read the rest of this entry »
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Ryan Dempster‘s decision not to pitch in 2014 came as something of a bolt from the blue for the Red Sox. Prior to his calls in the last two weeks, first to manager John Farrell and then to general manager Ben Cherington, the team anticipated that he would be one of six veteran starters competing for five rotation spots this spring, along with Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Jake Peavy. The team expected that the rotation logjam would likely resolve itself — that either one of the pitchers wouldn’t be healthy, or that a trade market might materialize in March for one of those potential rotation members.
Now, with Dempster’s decision (which will likely result in his placement on the MLB restricted list for 2014, meaning that he will be removed from the 40-man roster and not receive the $13.25 million salary guarantee that was due to him in the second-year of the deal he signed in December 2012), things look a bit different.
A few implications:
— The Red Sox rotation is set, assuming everyone stays healthy. Manager John Farrell said that the team will build for the season expecting the rotation to feature Lester, Lackey, Buchholz, Doubront and Peavy. Read the rest of this entry »
|For championship-less veterans, World Series title especially sweet||10.31.13 at 4:13 am ET|
Jake Peavy cried.
It was the top of the ninth inning of Game 6 of the World Series, and the Red Sox held a commanding 6-1 lead over the Cardinals. Koji Uehara was entering from the bullpen. The Lansdowne Street fireworks were ready. The game ‘ the season ‘ was all but over.
A lifetime of preparation, the last dozen years of which were spent in the majors, was about to culminate in a celebration and feeling of glory unlike any other.
‘Just something that I’ll never forget, that we pretty much had it wrapped up there, especially with our guy Koji coming in,’ Peavy said. ‘Really the ninth inning, those emotions come out of me and I had tears rolling down my face thinking about, just flashing back on 12 years and beyond. ‘¦ It was very, very surreal.
‘It’s what I’ve played for since I’ve played [as a kid] ‘ to be a champion. To do it here, in this city, with this group of guys, with this fan base. It’s unbelievable.’
Peavy is one of a group of veterans on the 2013 Red Sox who despite lengthy big league careers had never reached the sport’s pinnacle, until Wednesday. Until Wednesday, Peavy, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Dempster, Mike Napoli and David Ross and had combined for 59 major league seasons ‘ 3,441 games ‘ without winning it all.
|Ryan Dempster on D&C: ‘We’ll find a way to scrap together something’ offensively||10.15.13 at 10:38 am ET|
The Red Sox are coming off a dramatic 6-5 victory in Game 2, breaking through late after struggling offensively for the first 16 innings of the series.
“Good pitching is always going to neutralize good hitting. That’s just reality,” Dempster said. “You see last year the way in the World Series, look at the way the Giants pitched against a really good hitting ballclub, these guys, the Detroit Tigers. If you can execute pitches ‘¦
“The thing about this team is we’ll find a way to scrap together something. We did it in Tampa in the clincher there, the way we scored on a wild pitch and an infield single. I think it definitely helps. I think just as important as that bottom of the eighth inning was the sixth inning, where we gave up a four-spot and went out and answered back and scored a run off of Max Scherzer.
“That, to me, was just as important of any inning in the whole entire game, because it just let them know like, ‘Hey, that’s great, you guys got a lead. We’re going to continue to chip away and do what we need to do. And if you don’t execute pitches, we’re going to score some runs.”
That said, Dempster downplayed the emotional carryover from the Game 2 win.
“You just put yourself in a position where you’re not as far down,” he said. “Every game is a game where you’ve got to go out and win in the playoffs. We could have been in a situation [down 2-0], but thankfully we’re not. ‘Just one game’ has kind of been our motto all year. We go out there and we play. Just today, let’s just worry about playing today’s game. Not a series, not best-of-seven, not, ‘Let’s win four.’ Let’s just win today’s game. That’s how we approach it.
“So, I think it’s just one game. We’re at 1-1 and we’ve got a big game today. Obviously we’ve got a huge task with Justin Verlander. But the confidence we’re feeling from last game, and having [John Lackey] out on the mound, we like our chances.”
|Red Sox-Rockies series preview||09.24.13 at 10:55 am ET|
The American League East has been decided, and for the first time since 2007 the Red Sox have wrapped up the division title, completing their worst-to-first turnaround. All that’s left for the Red Sox to do is secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Sox own a 95-62 record, just one game better than the A’s (94-63).
The Red Sox continue to play good baseball in September, going 6-3 on the just-completed homestand, the last of the regular season. Although their streak of consecutive series wins was broken by the Orioles, who took two of three last week, they’ve still won five of their six series this month and have gone 14-6 since the start of September.
While the Sox might be looking to rest some players before the postseason, it doesn’t mean the lineup for the upcoming two games in Colorado will look like one for an intrasquad game in Fort Myers.
“We want to win out — we want to win 100 games,” Will Middlebrooks said. “And we want to have home-field advantage, too. It’s a close record for the best record. Oakland is right behind us. That’s important to us. A lot of starters are still playing. I’m sure they have the option to have the off time. But guys don’t want it. Guys want to play, and that’s pretty cool to see.”
The Sox dominated the Rockies in the two games against the interleague opponent at Fenway back in June, scoring a total of 16 runs off of Rockies pitching. The Rockies are 4-14 in interleague games this season.
It’s the pitching that’s been the biggest issue for the last-place Rockies. The Colorado staff has the worst ERA in the National League at 4.39. Both the relievers and the starters sit in the bottom third of just about every pitching category. And at 71-86, the Rockies occupy the cellar of the NL West, 19½ games off the pace set by the Dodgers.
The Rockies are coming off a game in which the staff allowed a season-high 13 runs, causing them to slip to a season-low 15 games under .500. It’s been a rough September for the Rockies, who have won just seven of their 20 games. However, with a decent offense, the Rockies could be a threat to any team visiting Coors Field. They own a 44-35 record at home as opposed to a dismal 27-51 mark on the road.
Here are the pitching matchups for the two-game set.
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
‘¢ The streak is broken and it’s been proven that Koji Uehara is in fact human, and not some strike-throwing pitching machine. But Uehara has shown very impressive resiliency. After a triple broke his club-record streak of consecutive batters retired at 37 and a sacrifice fly brought ended his streak of scoreless innings at 30 1/3, Uehara settled down and got the next two outs without a hitch. Since taking the loss in that game, Uehara has thrown 3 2/3 innings, giving up a couple of hits and earning two saves. The 38-year-old still is being used on a consistent basis and has yet to show any signs of fatigue. He’s racked up a total of 21 saves this season.
|Buster Olney on M&M: ‘Red Sox are the team to beat in baseball’||09.18.13 at 1:52 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday and declared the Red Sox the cream of the crop in MLB as the regular season comes to a close.
‘The Red Sox are the team to beat in baseball right now, I don’t think there’s any question about it,’ said Olney.
With 10 games remaining, the AL East-leading Red Sox lead the Rays by nine games, and their 92-60 record ranks first in all of baseball.
‘Their rotation is in excellent shape, you would probably take it over any other teams that are going to be in the postseason right now. So they would definitely be the team to beat,’ said Olney.
The Athletics and Tigers lead their respective American League divisions, and Olney sees those two teams as the main threats to knock off the Red Sox in October.
‘If you’re asking me which of the two teams do you not want to play, Detroit or Oakland, I know Detroit has the bigger names, but if you’re talking about how is Justin Verlander throwing right now, Id rather play Detroit, quite frankly,’ said Olney. ‘And given all the physical issues you have with Miguel Cabrera and the defensive issues they have at first and third base, I think you have more opportunity when you play Detroit.’
Detroit leads Cleveland by six games in the AL Central, while Oakland is making a bid for its second straight AL West title, as the A’s lead Texas by 6½ games.
‘I’ve talked to scouts about this, and they say the thing about Oakland that’s interesting is that every team seemingly at the back end, you know, players number 20 through 25 are guys who aren’t really that good, they’re just kind of filling out the roster. When you look at the Athletics roster, they’ve got 25 guys, none of them are superstars, there’s not a single superstar on that team, but you have 25 guys who are all good baseball players,’ Olney said.
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