With Clay Buchholz set to return in the coming weeks, the Red Sox will be faced with a decision to make, with six starters on the 25-man roster.
The leading candidate could be Ryan Dempster, who, entering his start Tuesday night, had an ERA of 7.27 in his previous five starts. After beginning the season with a 2.93 ERA in his first seven starts, Dempster had an ERA of 5.50 in the next 16 starts.
He did make a case to keep his spot with a sterling seven-inning performance -- four hits allowed, one run -- in the Sox' 4-2, 11-inning win on Tuesday night.
Still, Dempster’s recent struggles, in addition to his experience of pitching out of the bullpen (he's made 225 relief appearances over his 16 MLB seasons), could be what makes the 36-year old righty the odd man out of the starting rotation come playoff time.
“[Dempster’s] versatility may come into play here,” said CSNNE.com Red Sox insider Sean McAdam, “and may naturally force him out of the rotation if and when Clay Buchholz comes back.”