Dempster happy to be backed by Sox bats

Dempster happy to be backed by Sox bats
June 9, 2013, 7:45 pm
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BOSTON – Ryan Dempster earned the win Sunday afternoon, beating the Angels to improve to 4-6. He also recorded his 2,000 strikeout, retiring Alberto Callaspo for the first out of the sixth inning, one of six strikeouts for the Sox righthander.
 
After striking out Chris Iannetta for the final out of the sixth, Dempster has 2,001 strikeouts in his 16-season career.
 
“That’s probably the biggest thing, just longevity,” he said. “To be able to be around long enough, hang around long enough to be able to do something like that, I’m sure when I’m all done playing I’ll look back and maybe enjoy it a little more, but it is cool. I never play the game for stats, I play to win. Go out there and play to win the game, but when you look back and think, wow that’s a lot of strikeouts. Glad to get it over with.”
 
Dempster, 36, went six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks, two home runs, and a wild pitch.  He threw 110 pitches, 66 for strikes, recording his seventh quality start in 13 outings this season. The home runs were both solo shots – to Albert Pujols with two outs in the first, and to Callaspo leading off the fourth.
 
In his past two starts, Dempster has been the beneficiary of 24 runs of support over a combined 13 innings, earning wins in both games.
 
“It’s big,” he said. “Things like the solo homers, when you’re up a bunch of runs they don’t hurt you. You can attack the strike zone. It’s nice just to see us score runs like that. . As a pitcher, a starting pitcher, it allows you to go out there and really fill the strike zone up. You got a little bit of breathing room.”
 
In his career against Dempster, Pujols is 21-for-60 (.350) with five doubles, eight homers, 17 RBI, and 13 walks.  He has more home runs against Dempster than against any other pitcher. After Pujols’ home run, Dempster hit him with a pitch in his next plate appearance, with two outs in the third.  Pujols seemed to take exception to that, starting out to the mound as he went to first base.
 
“Did he stare? I didn’t notice,” Dempster said. “I was just trying to throw a pitch on the inside part of the plate and you gotta be able to get your plate. Just rode up a little hard and in.
 
“I’m not trying to put extra runners on base right there. Especially with [Mark] Trumbo coming up and things like that. It’s just one of those things where, hit batters are part of the game.”
 
Dempster, though, has shown improvements recently. The righthander, who had been bothered by a sore groin,  went through a stretch of three starts, from May 12-23, in which he allowed 15 earned runs over a combined 12 2/3 innings, going 0-2.  In three starts since then, he is 2-1, giving up eight earned runs in 20 innings.
 
“Probably getting past some of the physical ailments that led to some of the inconsistencies,” manager John Farrell said. “When he’s able to leverage the ball and throw the ball downhill and that’s more or less making sure and feeling that his lower half in particularly with the groin area that that’s not restricting him. And when it’s not this is what he’s capable of doing. So there was that three-start stretch that we’ve referred to that it was ailing him. Just another solid performance by him, 2000th strikeout in his career, speaks volumes for the longevity and productivity of him. And a very good start on his part today.”