Consistency is key over the course of a 162-game season and few, if any, teams have been more consistent than the Red Sox, who after beating the Mariners, 11-4, on Wednesday are 56-37 on the year and own the best record in the American League.
The feat is even more impressive considering the constant state of flux the Boston roster has undergone for more than a month now. Since June 7, the Red Sox have made 40 roster moves involving 22 different players. Despite the constant changes, which have affected pitchers and position players alike, the Sox are 19-13 during the span.
A consistent group of core contributors has helped Boston stay on track, including players like Daniel Nava, John Lackey, Jose Iglesias and Felix Doubront, who most did not foresee making big impacts before the season.
Another one of those players is Ryan Dempster, the 36-year-old starter who is in his 15th season in the Major Leagues. Dempster, who will take the mound against the Mariners on Thursday, hasn't been flashy, but with the exception of a three-start stretch in May has been as reliable as any pitcher on the Red Sox's roster. He had a 3.55 ERA over six starts in June and you'd have to go all the way back to May 23 to find the last time he gave up more than three runs. With a chance to guide his team to their league-leading 19th series win of the season, Dempster will aim for his eighth quality start in nine outings.
"That's your job as a starting pitcher, to try to be as consistent as you can," said Dempster. "Everyone's been throwing the ball really well, so you want to kind of pull your own weight. I've got one more start before the break, and try to finish strong before the break."
Opposing Dempster will be right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday morning. He takes Jeremy Bonderman's spot in the rotation after Bonderman was designated for assignment. Ramirez was in contention to be in the starting rotation during Spring Training, but an elbow issue removed him from consideration. He's been effective at Tacoma, posting a 3-3 record with a 3.09 ERA.
Red Sox: Ortiz breaks DH hit record
David Ortiz is on a tear and broke a record in the process.
The Boston slugger doubled in his first at-bat Wednesday for his 1,689th career hit as a designated hitter, surpassing Harold Baines' career mark of 1,688 for the most all-time.
It was just the beginning of a big night for Ortiz. He homered in his next at-bat and went 2-for-3 on the night with three RBIs.
Through the first three games of the series against the Mariners, Ortiz is 8-for-10 with two home runs, three doubles and four RBIs.
Mariners: Miller hot vs. Red Sox
Brad Miller has provided a spark from the top of the lineup through three games against the Red Sox.
Despite his team losing two of the first three games, the rookie is 6-for-14 (.429) in the series with five RBIs and two doubles.
"I like the energy and the way he makes adjustments from one at-bat to another and at times from one pitch to another," manager Eric Wedge said. "Those are positive things. He's been doing a nice job."
Miller is hitting .273 since playing in his first game June 28 and has been solid playing both shortstop and second base.
"No surprises there, just from what everybody was telling us from the Minor Leagues and what we saw over the course of Spring Training," said Wedge. "What you always wonder about is the speed of the game up here. They get up here and it's a little bit quicker, and I think he's handled that well."
• Jacoby Ellsbury extended his season-high hitting streak to 18 games with a 3-for-4 performance Wednesday.
• The Mariners are 25-35 against right-handed starters this season.
• The Red Sox have won 18 of 29 series this year. Last season, they won just 20.
Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.