Red Sox sending Ryan Dempster to the bullpen

Jim Rogash

Ryan Dempster is headed to the bullpen.

According to John Farrell, Ryan Dempster will spend the rest of the season in the bullpen, hopefully getting up-to-speed in time to help the Red Sox in the postseason.'

This is not the first experience Dempster will have in the bullpen by any means, though his performance as a reliever for Chicago was not hugely encouraging. From 2004 to 2007, Dempster made 226 relief appearances for the Cubs, providing them with a 4.10 ERA over 254 innings of work. It looks slightly better in the context of those years--that amounts to a 111 ERA+--but for a reliever that's not exactly amazing.

Still, as a starter Dempster wasn't going to be seeing much more action with these 2013 Red Sox. Felix Doubront is set to make a short return to the rotation, and with just four arms needed for the playoffs, that would leave Dempster the second backup. With the bullpen acting as this team's biggest weakness, having even just another decent arm to use could go a long way.

It doesn't hurt that Dempster has often seemed to start strong before fading later in his outings. That's also kind of the story of his season. He's trended well down ever since producing a 3.30 ERA on a .643 OPS against in April, and the first inning, at least, has proven something of a haven for Dempster, seeing just seven of his earned runs all year long, to go with a 32:9 K:BB. It's no guarantee, but it's certainly not a bad sign for Dempster as a reliever.

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