Can Ryan Dempster Stay on Track?

Jul 2, 2011

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Ryan Dempster was a roller coaster ride last year. Check out his ERA by month:
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April:  2.75
May:  4.54
June:  3.24
July:  5.03
August:  2.89
September/October:  4.59
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This year Dempster started off in the outhouse with a 9.58 ERA in April. He then went 3-1 with a 3.08 ERA in May and 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA in June. I wouldn’t quite call that the penthouse, but he has his numbers at least looking respectable at 5-6 with a 4.99 ERA and 1.41 WHIP.
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Since his back-to-back seven run disasters Dempster is 4-3 with a 3.11 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. He’s not going to fool anyone for Justin Verlander of Cliff Lee, but at least he’s looking like the pitcher that we’ve come to know over the past couple of seasons. We knew he wasn’t as good as the 17-6, 2.96 season he posted in 2008, but he combined to go 26-21 with a 3.75 ERA and 380 strikeouts in 415-1/3 innings in 2009 and 2010.
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Dempster has turned his season around, but I would be cautious using him on the road. He was blasted for six runs in five innings as recent as June 3rd. With a 6.86 ERA away from Wrigley I would only use him when the match-up is favorable. For instance, he faces the Nationals on the road on the Fourth of July. With Americana in the air I would roll the dice on that road start. It’s early enough in the week that you can make some adjustments if it doesn’t go your way.
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While I don’t think it will be entirely smooth sailing for Dempster the rest of the way, I do feel he will be a solid option for the most part.
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