Tuesday's Red Sox-Orioles matchups: Ryan Dempster-Scott Feldman

September 17, 2013 - 4:33 am

With just 11 games remaining until the postseason, Ryan Dempster has only a few opportunities to define a role for himself on the Red Sox going forward. His first chance comes Tuesday night when the Orioles come to town for a three-game series at Fenway Park. Dempster will face fellow right-hander Scott Feldman at 7:10 p.m. Dempster, acquired via free agency this past offseason, comes off a no-decision against the Rays last Wednesday. He allowed one run, four hits, five walks and one earned run in five innings, to go with seven strikeouts in the 7-3 win at Tampa Bay. Boston acquired Dempster (8-9, 4.70 ERA) with the hopes that he'€™d be a stabilizing force in the back end of the rotation. Instead, his season has been marred by inconsistency. For example, Dempster threw a seven-inning, one-run gem against the Blue Jays on Aug. 13. But he followed that outing with a seven-run catastrophe in 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees in his next start. The control issues that plagued Dempster in the early part of his career -- he walked a MLB-high 112 batters in 2001 -- have resurfaced. His 4.1 BB/9 is the highest since he posted the same number as a closer for the Cubs in 2007. He'€™s also allowed home runs at an alarming rate in 2013. In 162 2/3 innings, opponents have raked 25 home runs for a 1.4 HR/9 ratio '€“ the worst ratio in his career. With Clay Buchholz pitching like Pedro Martinez, Jon Lester on a recent run of success, and Jake Peavy and John Lackey providing solid innings, Dempster may not have a spot in the rotation during the postseason. He can only help his case with a strong performance against the Orioles, who he'€™s already faced three times. He'€™s 1-1 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.278 WHIP in 18 innings against Baltimore. Feldman, always a favorite of the sabermetric community because of his solid strikeout and walk ratios since 2011, despite a career 4.57 ERA, finally broke out this season. After a fantastic first half with the Cubs, when he posted a 3.46 ERA, Feldman (12-10, 3.54 ERA) was shipped to the Orioles for relief pitcher Pedro Strop and starter Jake Arrieta. At the time, the O's needed starting pitching help to keep them in the race for a playoff spot, and that'€™s exactly what Feldman has provided. Since joining the Orioles, Feldman possesses a 3.62 ERA and a 1.117 WHIP in 12 starts. He started off poorly, with a 5.70 ERA in the first six starts with his new team. But Feldman'€™s ERA is 1.77 over his past six starts. Those past six starts include a complete-game shutout against the White Sox on Sept. 6. He allowed five hits and one walk, while striking out three. In his last outing, Feldman held the Yankees at bay. The 6-foot-7 righty gave up three runs in 7 2/3 innings of a 5-4 loss last Wednesday. Feldman allowed three solo home runs but zero other hits. Orioles vs. Ryan Dempster (RHP) J.J. Hardy (37 plate appearances): .094/.167/.125, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts Nate McLouth (35): .259/.429/.444, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 3 RBIS, 6 walks, 6 strikeouts Nick Markakis (14): .250/.357/.500, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout Manny Machado (13): .250/.308/.417, 2 doubles, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts Adam Jones (12): .333/.333/.333, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts Chris Snyder (12): .333/.333/.333, 4 strikeouts Chris Davis (12): .182/.250/.455, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts Matt Wieters (11): .100/.182/.100, 1 walk, 1 strikeout Chris Dickerson (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts Mike Morse (5): .000/.400/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout Ryan Flaherty has two strikeouts in five plate appearances against Feldman. Wilson Betemit (3): 1 strikeout Brian Roberts (2): .500/.500/.500, 1 RBI Steve Clevenger, Alexi Casilla, Dan Johnson, Jonathon Schoop and Danny Valencia have not faced Dempster. Red Sox vs. Scott Feldman (RHP) Mike Napoli (27): .423/.444/.654, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts Dustin Pedroia (12): .417/.417/.417, 1 RBI David Ortiz (10): .286/.500/1.143, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 3 walks Mike Carp (10): .333/.300/.333, 1 RBI Jacoby Ellsbury (8): .375/.375/.375 Stephen Drew (8): .375/.375/.750, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 3 strikeouts Jarrod Saltalamacchia (6): .500/.500/1.167, 1 HR, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Shane Victorino has one RBI in three plate appearances against Feldman. John McDonald (3): .500/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 RBI Will Middlebrooks (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 strikeout Jonny Gomes (2): .000/.500/.000, 1 strikeout Ryan Lavarnway, David Ross, Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Snyder, Quintin Berry, Jackie Bradley and Daniel Nava have not faced Feldman.