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Why Ryan Dempster Is Winless

By bullpenbrian at 05.10.2012 6 comments.

Why is it the Cubs don’t score runs behind Ryan Dempster?

You’d think a guy who’s posted 1,2,0,1 & 1 earned runs in five outings would take pressure off the lineup. Instead, the Cubs have scored a grand total of five runs for Dempster. Five runs!

Run support continues to be an ongoing problem for Dempster and largely explains why he’s winless over his last 14 starts dating back to August of last year.

During this winless stretch the Cubs have provided Demps three or fewer runs of support on 13 occasions. Nine times they’ve scored one or no runs. Unreal. 

Granted Dempster (0-1) missed two starts this year nursing a strained quad, but his sparkling 1.02 ERA is tops in baseball for starting pitchers.

He’s pitched at least six frames in every outing striking out 36 batters and walking just 10. Yet amazingly, he has zero wins to show for it.

If it’s not the lack of run support dashing Dempster’s chance at a victory, it’s the bullpen. In his five starts the pen has blown three save opportunities.

Perhaps worse, Chicago has lost all five games Dempster has pitched, which undoubtedly, should be five wins.

Flip that trend around and the Cubs current record of (13-18) changes to (18-13), good enough for second place in the Central and two games behind division leading St. Louis.

If this club would just give Dempster some run support there’s no reason to believe they couldn’t hang in the race longer than expected.

As for Dempster, you simply couldn’t ask for more from your Opening Day starter, who should be an undefeated (5-0).

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6 Comments

  1. Spoda17 says:

    NIce post Brian.
    I do feel bad for Ryan, and I’ll be honest, pleasantly surprised with is performance. I was not expecting him to start like this at all. Dempster is a great guy and teammate, and I know the team wants to win for him. I like how the entire pitching staff has been playing the last few weeks. Dare I say it… maybe things are turning around. Still need some CONSISTENT offense, but hopefully we will find it soon.

    One other note, I just have to say this, I have always been a Theo/Jed/Dale supporter, and have been posting at multiple sites that we all just need to give them a chance… this stuff takes time. I have never felt they “threw-in” the towel on 2012, but had to make some very tough decisions to get the organization pointed in the right direction. I hope some of the naysayers from earlier this season are taking notice. Don’t want to get ahead of myself, but even though there have been some tough games to watch, I really like this team.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      It seems Dempster is more often recognized for his leadership than his pitching. That’s certainly noteworthy, but he’s also been a very dependable starter for the Cubs since joining the rotation in 2008. He’s made 30+ starts and eclipsed 200+ innings each season. That’s clutch.

      I couldn’t agree more with your evaluation of Team Theo/Jed/Dale. More tough decisions will follow. But that can only help free the organization to move in the right direction. While we can’t fairly expect the Cubs to be contenders this season, it’s worth remembering the rebuild has already begun. This first step of remaking the team is an important one, and what will ultimately position the Cubs to be competitive year after year.

      Playing better ball and playing up to expectations is what makes 2012 all the more exciting. Here’s to hoping it lasts well into the season’s second half!

  2. I love the way Dempster is pitching, unfortunately, I think the only way he is gonna start picking up Wins is when he gets traded. Last year of contract, and great pitching, he will be gone by June 15th
    Russel ~ http://wrigleyregular.mlblogs.com/

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Whoa, that’s some prediction about Demps (dealt by June 15th). Doesn’t mean you’re wrong, of course, the Cubs could trade him, but I think Theo/Jed will hang onto to him this season–if not resign him to another deal.

      We know Dempster enjoys Chicago, provides valuable leadership and is still showing he’s got some good innings left in his right arm. Plus, Ricketts is a big fan of Dempster.

      I’d feel differently about trading him if the Cubs were back loaded with pitching prospects, but they’re not. And I’m not sure the return they’d get for him in a trade would be of equal value.

      If, however, I had to take a stab at where Dempster could go…Boston seems reasonable. They’re really struggling in the rotation and already a good clip behind the rest of the division. Seeing as how the Cubs already struck a deal w/ Boston in the Byrd trade, maybe another one is still possibly especially considering how familiar Theo/Jed/McLeod are with their minor league guys.

  3. Chris Frye says:

    Perhaps another reason Ryan Dempster’s first win has alluded him for so long is the taxing of the bullpen. In the game prior to Dempster’s last 4 starts, the bullpen has thrown a total of 210 pitches in 12 innings. If Dempster could get a well-rested bullpen in the game ahead of his start, maybe that would improve his chance for relief pitching to preserve his lead.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Good research, Chris. Hard to argue a taxed bullpen hasn’t factor into Dempster’s win drought.

      At the same time, neither Demps nor the bullpen, has had much wiggle room. And when they have, Marmol’s a perfect 2-for-2 blowing the save chance.

      Ultimately this lineup needs to score more runs for both the benefit of Dempster and the late-inning relievers.

      I’m hoping Sveum’s kick in the pants to Soriano will get the LF going deep. That would be a good start!

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