The Astros will attempt to win their 4th road game of the season tonight as they take on the Red Sox and 35-year old 6'2" 215lb RHP Ryan Dempster.
*Dempster was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 3rd Round of the 1995 draft - 14 picks before the Astros chose Chad Alexander, who never played in the majors.
*The Rangers traded Dempster to the Marlins in August 1996 for John Burkett, and then in 2002 the Marlins traded him to the Reds for Juan Encarnacion, Wilton Guerrero, and another guy. Dempster signed a free agent deal with the Cubs prior to the 2004 season, and was with Chicago until last year's trade deadline, when the Cubs dealt him back to the Rangers for two minor-leaguers. He signed a 2yr/$26.5m deal with Boston in January.
*Dempster (1,003) is only eight behind Barry Zito (1,011) for the active leader in walks.
*This will be Dempster's fifth start of the season. Despite his 3.38 ERA, the Red Sox are 1-3 in his starts, because they've scored 12 runs in those four starts.
*Dempster's first four:
4/4 @ NYY: 5IP, 5H/3ER, 8K:4BB
4/10 v BAL: 5IP, 3H/1ER, 7K:2BB
4/15 v TBR: 7IP, 2H/1ER, 10K:2BB
4/21 v KCR: 7IP, 6H/4ER, 8K:3BB
*His 33 strikeouts are 5th in the AL, while his 12.4 K/9 are 3rd in the AL. If he strikes out 49 Astros tonight, he'll reach 2000 for his career.
*Opponents are hitting .186/.278/.360 against Dempster this season. Righties have a .634 OPS and Lefties have a .639 OPS against him.
*Dempster has allowed four homers this season - three of them have come on the first pitch of the AB.
*Given his NL history, Dempster has faced the Astros a number of times, but not since 2011. In his last five starts, he's 1-2 with two no-decisions with a 4.60 ERA and a Game Score average of 48.
*That said, only Ronny Cedeno and Rick Ankiel have ever had more than 5 plate appearances against him. Cedeno has hit .353/.389/.412, Ankiel .125/.125/.125 (2x16, 5Ks). Wesley Wright has had five plate appearances against Dempster, and does have a hit. Thus, an Astros reliever has a higher OPS (.400) against Dempster than the team's right-fielder.
*Erik Bedardadonk takes the mound for Houston tonight. Depending on where he is in "Spring Training mode," he may even be allowed to throw 85 pitches, which should be enough to get him out of the first inning.
*The Astros are 2-2 when Bedard pitches. He has made three starts since coming out of the bullpen for 3.1IP on Opening Night.
*Bedard did bounce back from his Disaster Start much better than Humber did last night. Against Cleveland on Sunday, Bedard allowed 6H/2ER, 8K:1BB in just 4IP (75 pitches).
*Mike Napoli has a .968 OPS against Bedard, with two homers and four walks in 19 PAs. David Ortiz is 5x24 with six walks. Dustin Pedroia is 1x14 with two walks.