Friday's Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Ryan Dempster vs. Hector Santiago

August 30, 2013 - 5:15 am
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It would be putting it lightly to say that it's been an eventful last few weeks for Ryan Dempster. After serving a five-game suspension for hitting Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, Dempster will be making his first start in almost two weeks on Friday as the Red Sox welcome the White Sox to Fenway Park for a three-game series. Lefty Hector Santiago will get the call for Chicago. On Aug. 18, in a start against the Yankees at Fenway, Dempster hit Rodriguez with a pitch after seemingly attempting to hit him with the prior three pitches -- the first ball sailed behind the New York third baseman's knees while the next two were both inside. Benches cleared after Rodriguez was hit and both dugouts were warned by home plate umpire Brian O'Nora. "I was trying to pitch him inside," Dempster said after the game. "It escalated pretty early. But then Brian did an unbelievable job throughout the rest of the game. There were some more guys hit, guys pitched inside, both teams, and he did a really good job of controlling the game back there." However, Rodriguez and the Yankees would get the last laugh, as the controversial slugger crushed a pitch from Dempster in the sixth inning for a solo home run that would spark a four-run rally for the Bronx Bombers, who eventually went on to win the game by the score of 9-6. Dempster gave up seven runs over 5 1/3 innings. In the days that followed, Dempster was criticized for his actions by Yankees manager Joe Girardi and countless other MLB players, including teammate David Ortiz.  On Aug. 20, Dempster was suspended for five games and fined $2,500. Because of his suspension, as well as the fact that the team had two off days during the upcoming week, the Red Sox decided to skip Dempster's next scheduled start and give him 11 days of rest. For Dempster, the extra rest may just be the best thing for him, as the 36-year-old has struggled mightily during the month of August. In four starts this month, Dempster has an unsightly 7.40 ERA and .299 batting average against. Dempster's recent numbers are a far cry from his stats earlier this season, as he impressed out of the gates with a 3.30 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 30 innings in April. Dempster has struggled against the White Sox in the past. In 14 appearances (seven starts) against Chicago, Dempster possesses a 5.03 ERA and a 2-5 record. A reliever at the start of the season, Santiago (4-7, 3.25 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) was moved into the starting rotation on May 2 and has made 19 starts on the year, while also returning to the bullpen for a brief period of time in late June/early July. In his last start Santiago was solid, allowing two runs and striking out six over 6 1/3 innings on Saturday against the Rangers. Santiago has only had one start against Boston in his career, on May 22, when the lefty took the loss despite only giving up two runs and striking out nine in six innings of work. White Sox vs. Dempster (RHP) Adam Dunn (30 plate appearances): .294 BA/.600 OBP/.706 SLG, 2 home runs, 14 walks Jeff Keppinger (30): .448/.467/.621, 1 home run, 4 RBIs Alexei Ramirez (18): .412/.412/.588, 1 home run, 2 RBIs Gordon Beckham (15): .214/.267/.214, 3 hits, 1 walk Paul Konerko (14): .167/.286/.417, 1 home run, 5 strikeouts John Danks (4): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout Alejandro De Aza (4): .500/.500/.500, 2 hits, 1 strikeout Dayan Viciedo (3): .667/.667/1.667, 1 home run, 3 RBIs Leury Garcia (1): .000/.000/.000 Jordan Danks, Tyler Flowers, Avisail Garcia, Conor Gillaspie and Josh Phegley have not faced Dempster. Red Sox vs. Santiago (LHP) Jacoby Ellsbury (4 plate appearances): .333 BA/.500 OBP/.333 SLG, 1 single, 1 walk Mike Napoli (4): .000/.500/.000, 2 walks, 1 strikeout Daniel Nava (4): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts Jonny Gomes (3): .000/.333/.000 Will Middlebrooks (3): .000/.000/.000, 3 strikeouts David Ortiz (3): .333/.333/.333, 2 RBIs Dustin Pedroia (3): .500/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 walk Stephen Drew (2): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts Xander Bogaerts, Mike Carp, David Ross and Shane Victorino have not faced Santiago.

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