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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.”

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.