Ryan Dempster staked to a 4-0 lead through five innings felt like money in the bank. Who wouldn’t bet he’d get that elusive first win?
Demps was cruising along needing just 27 pitches to retire 10 of 11 Cardinal batters from the second through fifth innings.
It was all the makings of a streak buster, a winless drought spanning 14 starts (now 15) without Dempster (0-1) earning a victory.
Go figure he’d allow four runs an inning later and leave his 300th career start with a no-decision.
All things considered, it was another strong start from the right-hander whose ERA jumped from 1.02 to 1.74. I mean, seriously. 1.74!
More importantly, the Cubs actually gave Dempster some run support and won a game behind him for the first time in his six outings.
That’s got to be a huge relief for the lineup and for Dempster, who arguably should be undefeated, and the Cubs five wins better than its (15-20) record.
Len & Bob interestingly referenced Kevin Appier’s 1992 campaign with Kansas City when he began the season similar to Dempster going winless through his first five starts with a sparkling 1.27 ERA.
Appier, however, won his next three games including 12 of his next 13 decision to finish the year (15-8) with a 2.46 ERA–and did so on a 90-loss Royals team.
I suppose there’s still hope for Dempster’s record to better reflect his pitching come season’s end. Maybe not 15 wins, but more importantly, if the Cubs keep winning behind him they’ll certainly avoid 90-losses.
Getting that first ‘W’ for Demps would be a good start.