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.
Butch and Price discuss how Belichick and the Pats manipulate the roster with cuts, injuries, practice squad etc. - it's a complicated subject! They then move on to the improving play of QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Butch and Price start salivating over the thought of regular season football being less than 2 weeks away and discuss some early intriguing matchups.
Butch is in for Dickerson on NFL Sunday and he and Chris get into the victory over Carolina and their take-aways - the receivers could be in trouble if they don't get healthy with Wayne struggling and Boyce not contributing at all, Scott Chandler is a beast that could be a huge redzone threat with Gronk on the field and more. They talk about the offense and break down the running back depth chart. Then Trags gives them a call to give his take on the roster and their play so far.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Reggie Wayne's arrival in New England and look at what he might be able to bring to the team.
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Michael joins Ben and Sam to discuss the wild NBA Free Agency period and the upcoming Celtics season.
How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.
Butch and John are talking Red Sox on the Sunday Sports Roundtable. They get into the current state of the rotation and how things have improved as of late. Joe Kelly has been on fire, but is he a trade asset? The guys discuss the starting pitchers that will be free agents this year and if any are good fits in Boston. Then they move on to the decision to let Orsillo go in favor of Dave O'Brien - Tomase has an interesting perspective on this topic.
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Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart, who hit his first career inside the park home run and propelled the Red Sox to a 6-4 win over the New York Mets.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
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The guys discuss some possible headlines come Pats opening night and talk about the reception that Roger Goodell might get if he's in Foxboro.
On the brink of the Pats' third preseason game, Christian kicks around some players that we might see suit up tonight in Charlotte.
The guys discuss a number of off-topics that are in the news today, including Sir Charles calling out his former agent, a Texas little league coach gives a pre-game talk for the ages & Jay Gruden is becoming sensitive.
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Chris Villani and Lenny Megs talk with Bob McGovern about the proceedings in the Tom Brady and NFL's deflate gate court case.
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