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Dempster's been dynamite so far in a Red Sox uniform.
While there's nowhere to go but up after a team hits rock bottom, redemption can be fleeting if the starting rotation isn't up to the task. No matter how many runs a team scores, if its starters can't keep the opposition in check, it's all a futile effort.
There's nothing futile about what we've seen from the trio that sits atop Boston's starting rotation so far this spring. Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster and Jon Lester have been outstanding each time they've taken the mound.
Over a combined 18.1 innings of work this spring, the group has surrendered one earned run, scattering seven hits while walking six (four belong to Lester) and striking out 16.
As Lester told Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, he believes that it's important the group has been able to find success early this spring:
Anybody who says (in spring training), if they get their brains beat in, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter’ — well, it does, it affects you. You want to have positive feedback on the things you’re working on. But, when it’s said and done, after that start go ‘OK, I got the things accomplished that I was trying to do. I threw a lot of changeups or I threw a lot of curveballs,’ whatever you’re trying to work on.
So you can look at it both ways, but when you come down to it, we’re all competitors. I want to win this game just as much as I want to win a regular-season game, so I want good results.
While John Lackey's numbers haven't been great (four hits and four earned runs in three innings of work), the team is pleased with the veteran's progress as he shakes off the rust after missing the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery.
Actually, the bulk of the rotation has given new manager John Farrell reason to smile:
A lot of quality strikes. With each outing, this being Jon’s third, I think they’ve done a very good job of establishing their fastball. As they’ve got into their third outings, they’ve gotten into their full complement of their pitch mix.
Much was the case last night with John Lackey and today with Jon Lester. They’re starting to get the proper progression through camp, they’re getting a feel for all their secondary stuff. It’s been a pretty good work schedule for all three so far.
Spring training success doesn't automatically translate to the regular season, but so far, there's reason for optimism in Beantown.