In Ryan Dempster’s last start, he let his pitching do the talking for him. That landed him a five-game suspension and possibly cost him a win.
On Friday night, Dempster let the pitching do the talking for him again, only this time out, the right-hander battled to a victory and no benches cleared.
In Dempster’s start against the Yankees, he attempted to take matters into his own hands — even if he won’t admit to throwing at Alex Rodriguez on purpose — and although it wasn’t difficult to decipher his intentions behind the at-bat, and most agreed with the sentiment, the plan ultimately backfired on Dempster.
Instead of becoming some sort of hero who brings justice to the diamond, the spotlight almost portrayed A-Rod as a victim. That night, the focus shifted away from the game and took Dempster out of his. It cost the Red Sox a possible victory, and Dempster never recovered after the incident. He struggled mightily after the second inning, eventually leaving in the fifth after surrendering seven runs on nine hits.
Against the White Sox, Dempster got back to what he does best and just pitched — plain and simple. Coming off 11 days of rest, the right-hander faced a few hiccups in his 6 1/3 innings of work, but he got out of jams when he needed to and minimized the damage by inducing a couple of key double play balls, allowing only three runs on five hits.
“When you’re not playing and you’re not injured, it’s not a fun thing,” Dempster said of the extended rest. “So I was glad I was able to get out there and just pitch a little bit better and give us a chance to win us a ballgame.”
After being chased early in the game against the Yankees on Aug. 18, Dempster instead left this outing with his head held high to the tune of a standing ovation from the Fenway Faithful.
“I felt good, my body felt really good, my arm felt really good,” he said. “I worked hard in the time off, I knew I had to be as ready as possible.”
The extra rest paid off for Dempster, as he bounced back in a huge way Friday night and in the process picked up his seventh win of the season. With Clay Buchholz inching closer to his return, Dempster’s role as a starter could be coming to a close. If it is, this is the way Dempster should go out — as a competitor, a professional and a winner.
The possibility of changes in the rotation isn’t of any concern to the right-hander at this point in time, however.
“I just do my job the best that I can,” Dempster said on changing roles. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
The Red Sox may get there sooner than later, but Dempster has shown he can overcome adversity in the past, and Friday night he exemplified that.