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You Think You're A Man: Brushing Up On Ryan Dempster

musical reference is more than a little hopeful...i'd rather not get swept

It should be evident that Dempster and Marquis are remarkably similar pitchers.  While Marquis' fastball got classified a sinker and Dempster's a fastball, the difference is fairly slight.  Dempster gets an additional mph and an accompanying increase in rise of about an inch and a half.  Meanwhile, the horizontal movement is somewhat expectedly reduced.  I would say they have the same skill at throwing a fastball, they just shape it differently.

The most notable thing about Dempster is his BABIP, a miraculously low .235.  Across the board for all of his pitches, he's got the same thing.  Symmetrically, he's also sporting a .777 DER.  For reference, .720 on a season is outstanding.  My understanding was Theriot was a fairly marginal shortstop.  Tango's site seems to be down right now, so how about a link to a seemingly spot-on Cubs' blog? (complete with reference to a "Colin" that likes the Cubs and therefore must be my doppleganger).  There's really nothing buoying Dempster's luck as far as I can tell, nor should there be.  And at some point, for those Cubs fans reading, terrible shortstop defense catches up with you.

I also infer that Dempster, given the quality of his non-slider pitches, is nibbling in order to induce weak contact and, hopefully, set up his slider away.  Thanks to pitch f/x and Josh Kalk, I don't just have to infer; here's the proof.  Recognition of the slider is key.  Against Marquis yesterday, a quick run through of the Gameday shows BA, Swisher and Cabrera with swing and misses.  OC's was on the first pitch of the game and he was clearly guessing fastball.  BA is BA and Swisher was up there lefthanded, for whom Marquis' slider gives a significantly harder time. We did very well at the plate yesterday, as expected.  The whiff rate on Marquis' slider vs. LHB is what Dempster's is for RHB (~20%).  For comparison, Ian Snell was at 17.6%.  Expect far more misses, but hopefully more walks as well.  And since he's long since due to regress, a blustery day at Wrigley is as good a time as any to start missing spots, suffer seeing eye singles and witness pop flies jetstreamed for homers.

Javy, unfortunately, is the worst amongst those qualified at inducing groundballs in the AL.  Lots of K's and zero walks are all within Javy's skillset, but he'll need luck to go along with that, considering the slim margin of error (yesterday's game hasn't been updated, but there are some very short home runs in there).  Whatever Dempster's qualities, being able to get groundballs at a 50%+ rate is going to be a significant advantage unless the wind is blowing in.  According to late night head math*, that's something like a third fewer fly balls per batted ball than Javy.  The Sox will likely get a number of basehits as they did yesterday, but getting the ball up and out of the park is going to be something of a struggle, even with their skillset.

Is it too much to expect that Javy will give up at least 2 HR tomorrow?  After watching the series so far, I don't think so.  That should be enough to emphasize how important it is that he not walk anyone and has superlative defense behind him.  And, last but not least, that the strike zone be standard issue (or bigger).


* I haven't taken a math class since high school