Boston Red Sox

Dempster in the fray

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Dempster in the fray

This afternoon, the Red Sox introduced Ryan Dempster during a press conference at Fenway Park. And all in all, the whole thing was pretty standard.

From everything I've read, the event basically just consisted of Dempster telling the world how much he's looking forward to playing in Boston, the Sox telling the world how excited they are to trot Dempster out to the mound every fifth day and both sides going back and forth with compliments until the microphone burst into flames.

And that's fine. But I can't believe that no one asked about Harry Caray!

It remains to be seen how much Ryan Dempster will help the Sox this season. Considering he's on the books for 26.5M over the next two years, you'd certainly hope so, but we really can't be sure.

On one hand, Dempster's registered double digit wins in each of the last five seasons, and over that time he's averaged 32 starts a year and finished only one season with a plus-4.00 ERA. That's not bad. On the other hand, he'll turn 36 in May, has played 14 and a half of his 15 Major League seasons in the National League and posted a 5.09 ERA and 1.435 WHIP after being traded to Texas last summer. That's not good.

But either way, regardless of how dominant he is on the mound, I'm guessing that Dempster will inject a little quirkiness and humor to the Sox recently-miserable clubhouse. And that's cool. Although for 26.5M, they probably could have booked Seinfeld.
Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

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Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

CINCINNATI - Mitch Moreland ended his long slump with a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox took another step toward a second straight AL East title, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday.

Boston has won 13 of 16, holding off the Yankees as it tries to win back-to-back East titles for the first time since divisional realignment in 1969. The Red Sox have their best record of the season at 90-64, reaching 90 wins for the second year in a row.

They remain four games in front of the Yankees, who beat Toronto 5-1.

Moreland was in an 0-for-19 slump when he connected off Robert Stephenson (5-6) in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season but only his second in September. The Red Sox are last in the AL with 160 homers.

Rodriguez (6-6) has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, the best stretch of his career. The left-hander gave up three singles and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 21.

The Red Sox have shutout victories in three of their last four games, including two at Baltimore. They are 7-1 on a trip that ends Sunday. Boston wraps up the regular season at Fenway Park with three games against Toronto and four against Houston.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who grew up in suburban Madeira and had hundreds of relatives and friends in the stands for the series, singled home a run in the seventh at the ballpark where he regularly attended games as a youth.

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his left foot Friday night, and Dustin Pedroia, who has been bothered by a knee injury almost all season, were out of the Red Sox lineup Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Chris Young started in right field for Betts and Brock Holt at second base for Pedroia.

Betts was scratched from the original lineup but was a late scratch. Pedroia, who had been getting intermittent days off to rest his knee was originally expected to play but needed treatement and hopes to be able to play Sunday, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN. 

Manager John Farrell told reporters, including Christopher Smith of MassLive.com, that Betts "was hindered by it last night in the second half of that game. [He] woke up a little bit more sore. Went through treatment. But felt it was best to give him a day to fully recover and get some additional treatment."

The manager added that Betts was available to pinch hit Saturday and did not have X-rays, but that step could be taken if there's no improvement in the next 24 hours.