NEW YORK — Over 15 seasons, Ryan Dempster has carved out a niche for himself almost largely because of his reliability, consistency and work ethic. He’s won at least 10 games eight times in his career, including each of the past five seasons. He’s thrown at least 200 innings seven times.
But when asked what his aims were for this season, he said, “I’m thinking — I would love — my goal is 30 wins. If I can get 30 wins, I”m going to take that. I won’t get greedy. I won’t get greedy, I won’t ask for 33 or 34, I’m just going to try to do that.”
He was joking, as he’s known to do. But he said he was anxious to take the mound tomorrow for the first time for the Red Sox, knowing that he’ll be counted on to be a dependable arm in the middle of the rotation.
“I’ve always tried to be consistent, whether that’s throwing innings, making my starts, giving us a chance to win and I pride myself on that,” said Dempster. “I work really hard and that’s the reason I do, so when I do go out there and pitch our team has a chance to win that day.”
In five starts against the Yankees going back to 1998, Dempster is winless. Last season was especially tough. He had just joined the Texas Rangers, he was three games into his American League adjustment, and the Yankees rocked him for eight runs on nine hits. Rude welcome aside, he said he’s more comfortable now since switching leagues.
“You’ve just got to continue to make pitches, just make as many quality pitches,” Dempster said. “The biggest adjustment is you’re facing a bona fide middle of the lineup hitter instead of a pitcher. So that just requires making more quality pitches, but other than that, the game’s all the same. You face hitters whether it’s American League or National League and you just go out there and make pitches.”