Ryan Dempster looked good in his start Sunday for the Boston Red Sox. Good, not unbelievable, but good as in good for an MLB starter–and that is exactly what the Red Sox need.
Dempster threw 28 pitches in Sunday’s game against the New York Yankees, 25 of them for strikes. He faced the minimum number of batters in his three innings of work. Perfect. That is what the Red Sox were looking for when they signed him: solid starting pitching. No one is expecting him to be the savior or top of the rotation starter for the Sox.
The Red Sox, theoretically, have two guys that could be number one starters in Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. Let’s face it, they both had awful years in 2012. They have John Lackey, who may or may not return to his pre-Red Sox form. As for Felix Doubront, hopes are high but the jury is still out on him. Those are projected to be your four starters, plus Dempster makes five, for 2013.
Yes, he is coming off a half decent year pitching in both the American and National Leagues. Sure, his numbers went up while pitching for the Texas Rangers in the AL. But guess what? His 12-8 record would have been tops for the Sox last year, as would his 3.38 ERA, and that is exactly the point here. The Sox need Dempster to have a similar year–not a career year but a solid, decent year being in the middle of the rotation.
Lester and Buchholz shouldn’t have years like they did last year because they are both better than that. Again, with Lackey and Doubront, no one really knows what to expect from the pair. The Red Sox have bet on Dempster to be strong, steady and reliable. He needs to be a solid, professional RHP who will give you innings and a great work ethic, which is just what they need.