The Red Sox will welcome Terry Francona and the Indians to Fenway Park on Thursday night, with Ryan Dempster taking the hill for Boston, facing off against right-hander Zach McAllister.
It was clear almost immediately that Dempster wasn’t on his game during his last start. The right-hander struggled through 4 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits while walking six Twins batters. He labored through the short outing, throwing 127 pitches, his most since 2011 and only three shy of his career high. Manager John Farrell came out to get Dempster after the fourth run scored, but the starter talked his way into facing another batter. The decision wasn’t a good one, as Dempster gave up a RBI single to Jamey Carroll before exiting. The Red Sox scored 12 runs and won the game, but Dempster was not eligible for a win.
“I just couldn’t throw it where I wanted to throw it,” Dempster said about his fastball after the start. “I kept missing away with it, missing up with it, missing off the plate with it. I didn’t really have any of my pitches tonight. That’s frustrating when you’re out there and can’t throw your fastball where you want, can’t throw your split where you want and can’t throw your slider where you want. Just have to work on it between starts and get them next time.”
Dempster has given up 15 runs (13 earned), 20 hits and four home runs over his past 16 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 4.27 on the season. His start on Saturday was his shortest of the season.
Dempster will be opposed by McAllister, who has been a consistently positive force in the Indians rotation, owning a 3-3 record and 2.65 ERA through eight starts. The 25-year-old hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his outings this year.
The righty was effective again in his last outing, throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings before allowing a two-run home run to Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan. McAllister kept his pitch count down, throwing only 95 pitches, walking one and striking out one.
“He pitched to contact,” Francona said after the game. “He pitched very well, and he’s been that pitcher for us. For a young kid, he’s very reliable, and he’s getting better, and it’s exciting.” McAllister didn’t factor into the decision, but the Indians would go on to win the game in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off fielder’s choice, their second walk-off win in as many days.
McAllister’s last start against Boston was one of his least effective outings this season, as he went five innings, allowing three runs on six hits, including a home run to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. McAllister is 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA against the Red Sox in his career.
McAllister throws a four-seam fastball in the low-90s, a cutter in the mid-to-high 80s, a change-up and a curveball. McAllister also introduced a splitter to his repertoire this year but isn’t throwing it with much frequency yet.
Indians vs. Dempster (RHP)
Michael Bourn (37 plate appearances): .313/.405/.375, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Drew Stubbs (22): .190/.190/.381, 1 home run, 1 double, 2 RBI, 7 strikeouts
Mark Reynolds (16): .214/.313/.357, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Nick Swisher (12): .375/.500/1.125, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Mike Aviles (6): .333/.333/.333
Michael Brantley (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk
Jason Kipnis (6): .000/.167/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Carlos Santana (6): .400/.333/.400, 2 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Asdrubal Cabrera (3): .000/.000/.000
Jason Giambi, Yan Gomes, Cord Phelps and Ryan Raburn have not faced Dempster.
Red Sox vs. McAllister (RHP)
Dustin Pedroia (10): .333/.400/.444, 1 double, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 2 striekouts
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (8): .250/.250/.750, 1 HR, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Jacoby Ellsbury (6): .500/.500/1.000, 3 doubles, 2 strikeouts
Jonny Gomes (6): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts
Daniel Nava (6): .600/.667/.600, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Mike Carp (5): .250/.400/1.000, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Stephen Drew (5): .000/.400/.000, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Pedro Ciriaco (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Ryan Lavarnway (3): .000/.000/.000
Will Middlebrooks (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout
Mike Napoli (3): .333/.333/1.000, 1 triple, 2 strikeouts
David Ortiz (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI
Shane Victorino (3): .333/.333/.333