Run support continues to come at a premium for Ryan Dempster, and it's not helping his record.
He could especially use some offense from his Boston Red Sox teammates Tuesday night when they face the red-hot Michael Cuddyer and Colorado Rockies in the teams' first meeting at Fenway Park since Boston swept the 2007 World Series.
Dempster (4-8, 4.23 ERA) has lost three of five outings despite a 3.48 ERA, and he's recorded quality starts in each of his last four games in Boston. The most recent was a 6-2 loss against Tampa Bay on Wednesday as he gave up three runs over six innings.
"I just wish we were winning more of the games that I'm starting," Dempster said after Boston fell to 6-9 in his starts.
He's surrendered three or fewer earned runs in five of his eight losses, with the Red Sox providing him two runs or fewer in seven of those games. His run-support average of 5.44 is inflated by a 17-5 win over Texas on June 4. Excluding that game, his average would dip to 2.64.
The major-league low is 2.69 for Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox.
"Seemingly, there's a guy on each staff that might be pitching on the wrong day, and that's probably the case with Ryan on a few occasions," manager John Farrell said. "That's something completely out of his control, but yet at the same time, we're in position to win almost every time he walks to the mound."
Dempster is 5-4 with a 7.83 ERA in 11 starts against Colorado.
The Rockies (39-38) scored 14 runs in back-to-back wins at Washington while totaling 25 hits, including a 7-6 victory Sunday. They scored seven runs during a five-game losing streak prior to those victories.
Cuddyer went 3 for 4 with a homer and four RBIs on Sunday to extend baseball's longest hitting streak this season to 21 games. He's two games shy of hitting coach Dante Bichette's franchise record set in 1995.
Cuddyer already owns the club record for consecutive games on base with 40. The 34-year-old Cuddyer and 36-year-old Dempster have never faced off despite their careers spanning a combined 29 years.
Carlos Gonzalez, who left in the eighth inning Sunday due to a leg cramp but should be able to play Tuesday, is 5 for 9 with a homer and two doubles off Dempster. Todd Helton is 10 for 24 with three home runs.
Boston (45-33) has lost four of five after a 7-5 defeat at Detroit on Sunday. The Red Sox made two errors in the eighth inning, including a controversial one charged to Daniel Nava in right field. The second base umpire ruled that Nava dropped a fly ball, possibly while transferring it from his glove to his other hand.
Right-hander Juan Nicasio (4-3, 4.78) makes his first career start against the Red Sox looking to end a six-start slide without a victory. He's 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA during that stretch and gave up four runs - two earned - in five innings of a 5-2 loss at Toronto on Wednesday.
The Associated Press News Service
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