Koji Uehara came through with a strong five out save Thursday night to help the Boston Red Sox to a 3-2 series lead. Koji has been great, as have Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa, but it has become clear there isn’t another pitcher that manager John Farrell feels comfortable going with late in ball games.
That is where Ryan Dempster could come in. Dempster has spent time in his past at closer for the Chicago Cubs, but has only seen time in the ninth inning of a blowout in the ALDS and an inning in the sixth in a four-run loss in the ALCS, thus far this postseason.
Despite sporting an ERA of 4.57 during the regular season, Dempster has not seen any high leverage innings this postseason. Instead, the second non-closing right-hander has been rookie Brandon Workman, who had a season ERA of 3.97.
The late innings have been a focus of Craig Breslow facing off against Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez, with Tazawa handling the right handed batters either before or after Breslow, and Uehara finishing off the game.
This mix has led to Uehara having to get four or more outs more times than you would typically like. At some point, the extended appearances will take a toll on Uehara, so to avoid fatigue setting in at the worst possible time, the Red Sox need to be able to turn to someone.
These are the perfect moments to turn to a guy like Dempster. He can pitch as few as one out and as many as five or six. It is time to allow Dempster to have an impact on this postseason.