The Red Sox are 2-0 for the first time since 1999 — back in the days of Jose Offerman, Wilton Veras and Creighton Gubanich — and tonight in the Bronx, they’ll hand the ball to the only player on their roster who was actually IN the big leagues back in ’99: Ryan Dempster.
This will (obviously) be the first start of the 35-year-old Dempster’s Red Sox career, and if he’s going to keep Boston in the win column, he’ll have reversed an unfortunate history against the Yankees.
Dempster is a 0-4 with a 7.62 ERA in five career starts against New York.
Of the five starts, four of them came at Yankee Stadium, and in all he’s given up 40 hits and eight homers (including bombs to Bernie Williams and David Justice) over only 28 innings on the mound.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that every one of his previous starts came at a time when the Yankees actually fielded a Major League line-up, but still Dempster will have a hard time endearing himself to Sox fans if he continues to reprise his role as the Bronx whipping boy.
Real quick before we wrap this up.
In looking back at Dempster’s old starts, I found something kind of interesting: His first career victory — and the only win of his rookie season — actually came against the Sox.
June 28, 1998: Sox at Marlins, and 21-year-old Dempster gave up only four hits, one run and struck out six batters (he got Lou Merloni twice) over seven innings in Florida’s 5-1 win.
Boston will take that line tonight.
In related news, the Yankees have reportedly reached out to Merloni in the hope to bolster their infield.