|John Farrell explains decision to leave in Ryan Dempster||05.19.13 at 12:34 am ET|
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.”
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Twins matchups: Ryan Dempster vs. Scott Diamond||05.18.13 at 5:27 pm ET|
The Red Sox look to extend their winning streak to four games on Saturday night, with Ryan Dempster taking the hill against Twins lefty Scott Diamond.
Dempster was roughed up by the Blue Jays in his last outing on Sunday, allowing a season-high six runs on seven hits in five innings, coming out on the losing end of a 12-4 count. The starter’s ERA climbed to 3.75 from 2.93 after the loss, and he failed to go more than five innings for the first time since his second start of the season. His three home runs allowed were the most of any Red Sox starter in a single outing in 2013.
“I didn’t make good pitches and I’ve got to do a better job” Dempster said after the game. “There were sliders that were left up in the zone and I just didn’t have the slider I normally have, and that’s unfortunate.” Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia agreed that the Sox starter was off his game, adding, “He made some good pitches, but I felt like the game plan changed a little bit today from the last few games. … It just seemed any mistake we made, they were all over it.”
Despite the subpar performance against Toronto, Dempster has been a solid No. 3 starter in a reliable Red Sox rotation. Hitters are only batting .205 against Dempster over his eight starts this season, and he’s managed to strike out an average of 11.4 batters per game. Dempster has also avoided getting knocked out of the game early, going at least five innings and throwing over 90 pitches in every one of his outings in 2013.
The veteran righty has faced the Twins five times before in four starts and one relief appearance. A lifetime 5.19 ERA against the Twins is partially due to the 10 runs he allowed in his first outing back in 2002, but Dempster has only given up four earned runs in his last 21 innings against Minnesota. He took on the Twins during the last homestand, going seven innings while allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk while striking out eight.
He’ll be matched up against Diamond, like Dempster a native of Canada, for the second time this year. The Red Sox were not able to figure out Diamond in his first career start against the club; the lefty threw seven innings of three-hit, shutout ball, earning his third win of 2013. His last start wasn’t quite as dominant, however, as he gave up six runs to the Orioles on nine hits, including three home runs, one more than his season total prior to the start. The loss extends an unfortunate streak for Diamond, who has not won at his home park, Target Field, in nine starts.
“I got eaten alive out there,” Diamond said after the loss. “It was frustrating, I definitely left a lot of balls up in the zone today and paid for it.”
Diamond owns the second-lowest ERA in a very mediocre Minnesota rotation, coming into the game with a 3-3 record and 4.08 ERA. The lefty has only 15 strikeouts on the season in 35 1/3 innings, which is not out of the ordinary in the Twins rotation. None of the five starters have more than 22 strikeouts on the year.
|Clay Buchholz, rest of the Red Sox starters have executed an interesting traveling trend||05.17.13 at 10:09 pm ET|
MINNEAPOLIS – It’s not clear how it might translate into wins and losses, but John Farrell certainly has taken notice of the dynamic.
For the sixth time in as many opportunities this season, the Red Sox pitcher who was scheduled to start in a series opening game in different city than the team had played the night before, didn’t travel ahead of the club.
This time it was Clay Buchholz who remained with his team in St. Petersburg, Fla. the night before he was slated to take the hill against the Twins at Target Field Friday night.
“My only comparison was being here before,” the Red Sox manager said, “and guys would travel ahead a little more frequently.”
Asked if the dynamic might be a microcosm of the new clubhouse culture, Farrell said, “That’s the way I look at it. Some guys, just by nature, don’t want to go out head. They want to travel with the group and not have that feeling of separation.
“We give the option to every guy and still most guys want to stay with the team and don’t want to break away from that unit. They want to give the support the night before they’re pitching and feel like they can manage the travel and still be prepared to pitch.”
As for tangible results stemming from the strategy, it has been a mixed back. Heading into Friday, the Red Sox starters have totaled a 5.15 ERA, which dips to 3.52 without Felix Doubront’s 3 2/3-inning, six-run outing in Texas. And Buchholz brought the numbers down even further with his performance against the Twins Friday.
Yet, with or without early-season excellence, the intentions are what have struck a chord with those in the Sox’ clubhouse.
“I’ve always believed I’m not the only one playing, my teammates are all playing too,” said Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster. “The other thing is, what if you go 17 innings or something and I’m sitting on my couch or bed at home and my team ends up losing a game because I’m not there to help. You can sleep on a plane and get your rest.
“With this team, everybody kind of wants to be together. I think that’s awesome. It just everybody’s preference, but everybody here wants to stay and be a part of it.”
|Closing Time: Red Sox routed by Blue Jays, head into road trip reeling||05.12.13 at 4:52 pm ET|
Momentum has left the building for these Red Sox.
With its 12-4 loss to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox have now lost eight of their last 10 games while heading into a nine-game road trip standing at 22-16. They hit the road having turned in a 2-5 homestand.
Since the beginning of their series against the Rangers (May 3), the Red Sox have been outscored 62-33.
This time, both a lack of hitting (primarily against rookie starter Chad Jenkins) and pitching (with starting pitcher Ryan Dempster serving as the chief culprit) did in the Red Sox.
The outing was by far the worst of Dempster’s young Red Sox career, with the righty suffering his first loss ever against a team from his native Canada (6-1). He watched his ERA go from 2.93 to 3.75 after allowing six runs on seven hits over five innings. After escaping the first without giving up a run, Dempster would lead the Sox down a path in which they surrendered at least one run in each of the next five frames.
“I was missing up a lot today — more than I normally do, for whatever reason,” Dempster said. “I couldn’t really pinpoint it. I tried to get the ball back downhill to be consistent. It would be good for a few hitters and then I’d get the ball up. I just tried to work hard, but I just wasn’t good enough today.”
Offensively, the Sox could do nothing with Jenkins, the 20th overall pick in the 2009 draft. In five-plus innings, the hurler gave up just two runs on seven hits. John Farrell‘s club finished the day going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and now is 13-for-79 in such situations since May 3.
“I think we have a number of guys dealing with some frustration right now,” said Farrell. “There’s no question about it. The key for us to maintain our preparation and our work routine. Those are the key things that we can control. We can’t direct the ball after its hit and I know with the attitude of this group, it’s a resilient one and we’re getting tested right now. There’s no doubt about it.”
WHAT WENT WRONG
• Emilio Bonifacio’s two-run homer in the fourth not only gave the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead, but almost resulted in a significant injury for right fielder Shane Victorino. While tracking the blast into the Toronto bullpen, the outfielder smashed his side, on the full run, into the somewhat-unforgiving padding. After lying on the field for a few moments — leading Farrell and the medical staff to run out to analyze the situation — Victorino remained in the game (although he would ultimately come out in the seventh and taken to be examined at Massachusetts General Hospital after the game).
“The way Shane hit the wall, he started to stiffen up as the game went on,” said Farrell, who surmised Victorino would be ready to play Tuesday. “And given what he’s been dealing with, low back-wise, we weren’t going to take any chances further today.”
• Just a half-inning after Mike Napoli had cut his team’s deficit to a run via a solo homer, Dempster gave the run right back when Edwin Encarnacion hit homer over the left field wall to increase the visitors’ lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning. Encarnacion came into the game just 1-for-14 against Dempster and 3-for-31 vs. the Red Sox this season.
• Andrew Miller didn’t have any better luck than Dempster, allowing three runs on two hits (including a Brett Lawrie homer) while getting just one out.
• Red Sox pitching ultimately allowed five home runs (two by Jose Bautista). It was the first time this season the Sox staff has allowed that many homers, having done it five times in 2012.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
• Napoli showed signs of life, launching a solo homer over the center field fence to lead off the fourth. (He would also later double.) For Napoli — who leads the major leagues with 23 extra-base hits — it was his first home run since hitting a pair on May 1. Of the slugger’s seven homers, five have come against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox came into Sunday 4-1 when Napoli hit a homer and 3-9 in games the first baseman (who was serving as designated hitter Sunday) didn’t have a hit.
• The Red Sox were able to get Pedro Ciriaco some playing time at first base, with the utilityman coming on in the seventh after starter Mike Carp was pinch-hit for by Jonny Gomes. Ciriaco highlighted his day by homering in his first at-bat of the game.
Ryan Dempster will take the hill for the Red Sox in the rubber game of the series with Toronto on Sunday afternoon, looking for his third win of the year. He’ll take on right-hander Chad Jenkins, who will make his first appearance of the season for the Blue Jays.
Dempster has been impressive for the Red Sox this year, bringing a 2-3 record and a 2.93 ERA into Sunday’s game. He’s managed to keep the Sox in the game every time he’s pitched, not allowing more than four runs in any start. What’s been surprising about the 36-year-old starter is the amount of strikeouts he’s been getting. Dempster has struck out an average of 11.5 hitters per nine innings, and owns a 3.06 strikeout to walk ratio. At the beginning of play on Saturday, Dempster was sixth in the American League with 55 punchouts, and is second on the staff behind Clay Buchholz. In his last outing he struck out eight Twins, giving up four runs on five hits. He’s fanned eight or more batters in all but one of his seven starts.
Dempster has enjoyed pitching against the Jays for the most part (except that one time when he missed his start in Toronto because he forgot his passport), coming into the game with a 1-0 record and 4.12 ERA against the divisional rivals in four games (three starts). He earned his second win of 2013 against the Blue Jays back on May 2, going six innings and allowing only one run on four hits while fanning four.
Jenkins, who was just recalled from Double-A New Hampshire and took the roster spot of injured outfielder Rajai Davis, will be making his first major league appearance of 2013 after appearing in 13 games for Toronto in 2012, making three starts and going 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 32 innings. Brandon Morrow was initially slated to take on the Sox for the final game of the series but was pushed to Wednesday due to neck and back spasms that have been ailing him recently.
The 25-year-old Jenkins has made an appearance in only one game this year for the Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate, giving up three hits and two runs in five innings pitched. He’s never pitched an inning in Triple-A, skipping from Double-A New Hampshire straight to the big leagues in August of last year. The Red Sox got a brief look at the Tennessee native in 2012 when he threw an inning and a third of relief on Sept. 14, allowing two hits and two runs.
The Blue Jays had an array of pitching injuries limit them in 2012, but it could be argued that this year’s staff is even more depleted than last year’s. Jenkins will be the ninth starter the Jays have used in only 39 games, while they used 12 by the end of 2012. Jenkins also represents the 22nd pitcher to appear for Toronto, a total that leads the majors.
|Closing Time: A painful, ugly mess as Twins beat Red Sox||05.07.13 at 10:12 pm ET|
It was night when injury was added to insult for the Red Sox.
Ryan Doumit doubled, homered and scored twice as the Twins handed the Red Sox their fourth loss in five games, 6-1, Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
Wilkin Ramirez singled home Ryan Doumit in the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie, one batter after a collision that injured a pair of Red Sox starters. David Ross collided with Will Middlebrooks while chasing a Chris Parmelee foul pop near the Twins dugout, behind the on-deck circle.
“David Ross has a left quad contusion right above the knee area,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “When he slid, both he and Will, the shin guard kind of peeled back a little bit and he slammed into the wall at that point, so he’s day-to-day. It’s not anything in the knee. Structurally, that’s checked out fine. But he started to get some swelling in that inning and we got him out of there.
“Will is undergoing X-rays and CT scans on that right side. When he slid on his left side, he kind of whipped over and slammed into the wall. [As a precaution], we got him out of the game. He took the next at-bat, didn’t feel anything. He stated he could’ve gone further but as a precaution we got him out of the game.”
Ross would stay in the game for one batter before coming out with a strained left quadriceps while Middlebrooks came out after the sixth inning with pain in his right side. The double dose of injury news comes one night after the Red Sox lost their closer Joel Hanrahan to a strained right forearm.
Ryan Dempster (2-3) was the tough-luck loser as his offense and fielders failed him, early and late, respectively. Lefty Scott Diamond (3-2) stifled the Red Sox on three hits over seven shutout innings.
“A very good outing by Ryan Dempster,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately, not much to show for it on our end, and that’s not taking anything away from Diamond, who lived on the edge and stay out of the middle of the plate, even when he got in a couple of fastball counts. He located well.
“In the time he was in the there, I don’t think we had a guy past first base. Other than that, it was a solid outing by Ryan Dempster.”
During a four-run Minnesota eighth that blew the game open, Farrell appeared ready to get his first ejection as skipper, arguing a call at first when he felt Doumit ran inside the baseline, causing a Jarrod Saltalamacchia error that continued Boston’s misery in the inning.
“We execute the out at home,” Farrell said. “The return throw is low as he’s trying to throw around the runner Doumit. He steps on [Mike] Napoli’s foot, clearly indicates he’s inside the base path. The explanation to me was … I’m still trying to figure out the explanation. I’ll just leave it at that. That 45-foot lane is there for a reason. He wasn’t in it. By the rule, he should’ve been out.”
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
• Injuries mounting very fast. There’s no immediate prognosis on the Middlebrooks or Ross injuries but the Red Sox can ill afford a repeat of 2012 when injuries to starting position players midway through the season depleted their depth and eventually took its toll. The Red Sox are already dealing with injuries to Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey while hoping Napoli and David Ortiz hold up over the course of the season.
• Scott Diamond looked like Cole Hamels. The lefty, mixing his 89 mph fastball with a wide variety of offspeed pitches, kept the Red Sox batters off balance all night.
• Saltalamacchia continues to struggle badly. He over-swung at an 81 mph slider down and in during his first plate appearance in place of Ross. Salty did connect for his fourth homer of the season, an opposite field solo shot over the Monster to open the ninth.
• Before getting injured, Will Middlebrooks‘ struggles continued, going 0-for-2 with a strike out, dropping his average to .192 on the season.
• Pedro Ciriaco woeful in the field. Life has not been kind to Red Sox third basemen. Middlebrooks has struggled in the field this season and his two errors on routine grounders to open the eighth opened the flood gates for the Twins, who blew the game wide open.
“Short term, not a concern,” Farrell said of the club’s depth situation at third base with Middlebrooks’ status uncertain. “That was uncharacteristic of Pedro tonight. He has shown to be a very dependable defender. Two miscues are unlike him. Long term, we don’t think Will’s situation is more than day-to-day at this point. We’ll certainly get a better read when the test results come back. My thoughts haven’t gone down that path yet.”
• Lefty Craig Breslow couldn’t get anyone out, literally. After coming in for Dempster, Breslow allowed three hits, one walk and two runs, one earned, as Saltalamacchia committed the third Red Sox error of a brutal four-run eighth.
Ryan Dempster will face off against one of the only other Canadian starting pitchers in the majors, Scott Diamond of the Twins, at 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday.
Dempster picked up his second win on May 2 as the Sox beat the Blue Jays, 3-1. He struck out just four, his lowest strikeout total of the year, but allowed only one run on four hits and three walks over six innings.
With the Sox bullpen struggling of late, the team will hope for Dempster to pitch as far into Tuesday’s game as he can. This year, he’s twice gone five innings, twice six and twice seven, last finishing the seventh inning on April 21 against the Royals.
Dempster has started just three games against the Twins in his career, two of them last year with the Rangers. He struck out 13 over 14 innings in those two starts and allowed just two runs, picking up wins in both games.
Diamond has put together a string of three solid starts since starting off on shaky ground this season. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his last three starts, and most recently gave up two runs over six, striking out three and walking one, as the Twins beat the Tigers, 6-2, on May 1.
Diamond emerged as a decent starter for the Twins last year in his first full season in the big leagues. Over 27 starts, he posted a 3.54 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. His strikeout numbers were underwhelming (just 4.7 per nine innings, the second-lowest rate in the American League) but he balanced that out with the lowest walk rate in the AL, walking 1.6 batters per nine innings.
Diamond has never pitched against the Red Sox. The only current Sox who have faced him are Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino, both of whom are hitless against him in three plate appearances each.
Apart from Jamey Carroll, who owns a .467 OBP against him in 15 PAs, Dempster has fared well against most current Twins. Justin Morneau has a solo home run against him, but Joe Mauer has had trouble with Dempster, striking out five times in seven appearances against him.
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