Although Ryan Dempster missed out on an opportunity to make Red Sox strikeout history, he garnered something that he values even more highly: A win.
Dempster — who joined Pedro Martinez as the only two pitchers in franchise history to punch out seven or more batters in their first five starts for Boston — didn’t record his first strikeout until the fourth inning, and finished with just four strikeouts on the night. However, while pitching to contact, after Brett Lawrie led off the first with a homer, he shut down Toronto over the duration of his six-inning outing, limiting Toronto to three singles and three walks over the duration of his efficient outing in positioning the Sox for a 3-1 victory in the Rogers Centre.
When the Sox signed Dempster to a two-year, $26.5 million deal this offseason, he was expected to offer a reliable source of innings. Increasingly, he’s been that, with four straight outings of at least six innings.
At the same time, there were questions about how he would adapt to the AL East. With Thursday’s outing, he’s now faced all four of his divisional opponents, with a 2.34 ERA in 23 innings, 29 strikeouts and 11 walks.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
– In an unexpected turn of events, when the Red Sox looked to lock down a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning, it was Joel Hanrahan rather than Andrew Bailey who secured the save. Hanrahan tossed a scoreless ninth for the 100th save of his career, working around a leadoff single by getting an infield pop-up and a game-ending double play.
– Mike Carp continued his dazzling early-season performance as a role player, going 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a walk. In 31 plate appearances, Carp has driven in eight runs while forging a .464/.516/1.000 line.
– Mike Napoli launched his major league-leading 15th double of the season, though that was his only hit as part of a 1-for-5 night in which he punched out twice and grounded into a double play.
– Junichi Tazawa once again came into a game and extinguished a rally. Summoned with two on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, he initially wavered, issuing a walk to Brett Lawrie to load the bases, but recovered to blow away Adam Lind with a 95 mph fastball to end the inning. Tazawa has now stranded 10 of the 11 runners he’s inherited.
That said, there may be questions about whether he’s dealing with some early season fatigue. Tazawa did not walk a batter in any of his first 11 appearances this season while throwing 69 percent of his pitches for strikes. Thursday marked his third straight outing in which he permitted a walk, and his second appearance in his last three in which he threw more balls (6) than strikes (5); he has a 50 percent strike rate in that time (23 of 46 pitches for strikes).
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
– Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-5 (though he did reach on an error), snapping an eight-game hitting streak. It was just his second game this year in which he’s failed to reach base by hit or walk.
– Though the Sox had plenty of opportunities with runners on base, they failed to capitalize on most of those. The team went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 runners on base.
PHOENIX — After landing in Phoenix Monday afternoon, Patriots owner Robert Kraft took to the podium to make a passionate defense of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the organization in response to Deflategate.
We go inside the Patriots with head coach Bill Belichick as the Patriots prepare for the Super Bowl. We get some final thoughts on deflated balls, and some actual GAME talk about the Seahawks as well.
Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out of hardware, and give their Finals predictions
Jackie MacMullen, ESPN Boston, talks with MFB about Rondo being traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and how this will have an effect on the Celtics rebuild process
How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...
The Red Sox have taken over Foxwoods and Red Sox Manager John Farrell sat down with Mut and Bradford to talk about the roster and how the 2015 season is looking.
Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly and 3B Pablo Sandoval sat down with Mut and Bradford. Joe Kelly had a few interesting proclamations. First he said that 95% of pitchers use some sort of grip enhancer, and then he said he was going to win the Cy Young. Pablo leaned over and promised 10 HR's, explaining to Joe that the trick is to set the bar low.
Mut and Rob are in on the Hot Stove Show this week and they're taking calls and talking about the Red Sox pitching as we are 5 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.
Pierre McGuire talks about ways hockey players skirt the rules in the NHL and the development of Dougie Hamilton.
Pierre McGuire joins Lou, Christian and Tim to discuss the resurgent Bruins, the emergence of David Pastrnak, and former Boston College stand-out Johnny Gaudreau looking to trademark the name 'Johnny Hockey.'
We get our state of the B report from NESN's Jack Edwards, right in the midst of a 4 game winning streak and hot return for David Pastrnak.
Ben Volin sits in with the guys and breaks down deflategate and the future of Darrelle Revis.
Kirk wasn't taking any crap from Woody in North Reading.
Tony Kornheiser joins Dennis and Callahan in Arizona to discuss his comment comparing Bill Belichick to Whitey Bulger.
Former Panthers GM and current ESPN 730 radio host in Charlotte, Marty Hurney spoke, ambiguously, about a lot of "rumors" he's heard about the New England Patriots, dating back to 2001. He did admit he believes Bill Belichick's assertions during Saturday's press conference.
Saturday Night Live did a cold open featuring actors portraying Greg Gumbel, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Also, the story of Robert Allenby is unraveling quickly.
Patriots DE Chandler Jones spoke about he doesn't really have a problem "avoiding the noise" about "Deflate-gate" since he doesn't watch ESPN or the news, but prefers cartoons like Family Guy. He also talked about the time he played the Seahawks in his rookie year. Although the teams are different, Jones will likely line up opposite Russell Okung, and try to tackle Marshawn Lynch. Keeping contain on Russell Wilson will be important for Jones and Rob Ninkovich.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton are live from radio row and recapping the latest in Deflategate including Belichick's impromptu weekend presser, and the national media's predictable reaction to it.
A caller named Jumbo from California raises a question that hasn't been talked about too much, what happens if it's determined that the Patriots aren't found responsible for the deflation of the footballs?
Mut and Lenny continue talking and taking calls on deflategate, as well as hearing the sound from Kirk Minihane's appearance on the O'Reilly Factor.
Mut and Lenny are talking deflategate and what impact it could have on the Patriots organization.
Chris and comedian Mike Mulloy recap the final Raw before the Rumble and preview the Rumble itself.
Would you rather watch important games in the stadium or on TV? Also we discuss our worst experiences at stadiums.
Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out some hardware, and give their Finals predictions.
We get the national perspective on Deflategate and the Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl with the playmaker, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.More from this show