Ryan Dempster leads baseball with a 1.02 ERA … and has zero wins

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Ryan Dempster threw seven innings of one-run ball against the Braves last night, which actually raised his MLB-leading ERA to 1.02.

He’s gone at least 6.2 innings in all five of his starts, allowing 1, 2, 0, 0, and 1 earned runs … and has zero wins to show for it.

Hopefully most HBT readers know how we feel about the silliness of pitcher “wins” at this point, but Dempster is another extreme example of how misleading and misguided the statistic can be.

He’s allowed four earned runs in 35.1 innings, yet the Cubs have lost all five of his starts while scoring a grand total of eight runs. Last night he exited after seven innings with the score tied 1-1 and then reliever Kerry Wood took the loss.

With any kind of decent support from the bullpen and lineup Dempster could easily be 5-0 with a 1.02 ERA and everyone would be talking about him as the season’s breakout pitcher. Instead he’s 0-1 with a 1.02 ERA and … well, all he gets is this blog post.

Oh, and here’s an amusing stat considering Dempster has allowed just four earned runs all year: Already this season there have been 22 instances of a pitcher allowing four or more earned runs in a game and earning the “win.”

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.

Yankees activate Didi Gregorius from the disabled list

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The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.

Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.