Dempster K's 10 in first win of season

Dempster K's 10 in first win of season
April 27, 2013, 12:30 am
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BOSTON -- Ryan Dempster picked up his first win in a Red Sox uniform on Friday night. But had you watched him pitch all season, you'd know that his 0-2 record entering the game against the Houston Astros was downright deceiving.

Dempster allowed just two runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out 10 in six innings, and lowering his season ERA to 3.30 in five starts.

The Red Sox defeated the Astros 7-3, and Dempster's outing was yet another reliable one in which he had everything going for him.

"Split, slider, a 3-2 slider on a number of occasions to both lefties and righties," said Red Sox manager John Farrell after the win. "He located his fastball well. I think there were three consecutive innings where they led off with a double that he was able to get some key strikeouts in those situations.

"But the one thing about Ryan is, he's so reliable and dependable that he's going to keep the game in check. And he's done that every time he's walked to the mound so far."

Friday marked his fifth straight game with at least seven strikeouts, something that he says are overrated.

"When you can put your fastball where you want, you end up getting ahead in the count, and then you can expand off that," said Dempster, when asked what he credits his early-season strikeout totals to. "Strikeouts are overrated. I'm just trying to get outs. But I'll take them however I can get them, and they've been coming, a lot of them, by the strikeout. I'm sure that won't be the case all year."

Farrell and Friday's catcher, David Ross, point to Dempster's slider in 3-2 counts.

"He's able to go to any one of three pitches in 3-2 counts, or in a two-strike situation," said Farrell. "Hitters can't sit on any one approach to finish a guy off. He's done such a great job in that 3-2 count. He doesn't give in, and he's not afraid to go a full count. He uses the entire count, when needed. But we've seen some of his better sliders in those 3-2 situations."

"Ryan did a great job," said Ross. "He always does. He knows how to pitch. Establishes his fastball, in and out. A typical veteran pitcher. He knows when he wants to use his heater. Some great 3-2 sliders early on in the game to keep their hitters off balance."

Ross also raved about Dempster's splitter on Friday, calling it "video game" type of stuff.

"He had like a Bugs Bunny splitty tonight," said Ross. "That thing was really working good on some of those guys, man. That was like some Nintendo stuff out there."

Dempster has proven to be more than just a reliable No. 3 starter in the Red Sox rotation this season. He's making a case to be one of the team's best pitchers to go along with Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester. He proved that once again on Friday night. Only this time, he got the win which he deserved a few other times this season.

"Wins come," said Dempster. "Sometimes they come in bunches. Sometimes they're tough to come by. But just keep working hard and making pitches, and you'll put yourself in a position to win games more often."