On Thursday afternoon Ryan Dempster took the mound against the Minnesota Twins and pitched and had an excellent start. Dempster went 4 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits. He walked 2 batters and struck out 3. Dempster threw 73 pitches, 43 of them for strikes in his 4 inning outing. This start was the 4th appearance of the spring for Dempster who has pitched 12 2/3 innings allowing 3 runs on 9 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.13. After the game manager John Farrell said “Once again got to the 70-pitch mark, or close to it, that we were hopeful of. And he used all his pitches. Last time out he pitched primarily with his fastball,which was by design. But today he went out and took the whole repertoire to the mound and made some key pitches when he needed to. But a very good step in spring training”.
This was a great start for Dempster whose performance at spring training is solidifying either the 3 or 4 pitching spot in the Red Sox rotation. Dempster got lots of great work this outing pitching out of jams, he had runners on base every inning other than the third. In the first inning there was a runner on first before his pitching started a double play. In the second inning Dempster walked a batter than gave up a double, putting runners on second and third before striking out two consecutive batters to end the inning and pitch out of the jam. In the fourth inning Dempster gave up a 2 out home run then walked the next batter before ending the inning. After the game Dempster talked about his performance saying “When you go away from the season and the season ends, you lose sight of those situations a little bit. So when you get back into them it kind of gives you an understanding of trying to manage an inning, how to maybe get a strikeout when you can, not try for one but get one when you can. Those kinds of situations are fun because you’re going to get lots of them during the year. You just try to go through and make some pitches”.
This was a great start for Dempster as spring training is beginning to wind down. Dempster should get 2 more starts this spring to improve on and be ready for his first start of the season, most likely on the road at Toronto. Management expects Dempster to be a big part of solidifying the pitching rotation this season, a section of the team that struggled greatly last season. If Dempster's spring training is any indication of how he will perform this season it looks like the team will contend for a playoff spot and Dempster could be contending for the ace position next season.
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