To say Chicago Cubs' right-hander Ryan Dempster was upset with the way he pitched in 2011 would be an understatement, considering it was his worst season as a starting pitcher with a 10-14 record and 4.80 ERA.
Dempster promises better results this season.
"You have some disclipline, and that comes from working hard for me," Dempster said. "I have always done that and will continue to do that.
"You have to look into the mirror and say, 'What can I do to fix those things?'"
Dempster has been the ace of the Cub staff with at least 200 innings the last four seasons. That number alone is the benchmark for upper tier starters, however that didn't stop him from challenging himself this year.
“Making better pitches is a good place to start," Dempster said. "You have to practice and learn how to stay away from those big innings."
Entering the last year of a four-year, $50 million contract, it appears that ending his career as a Cub is a goal.
”I love it here and hopefully if I just do my job then that's good enough," he said.
Dempster and Kerry Wood are considered team leaders, which is a role Dempster has been comfortable with in the past. He allowed the team to defer payments on his deal that gave the Cubs a chance to sign Milton Bradley before the 2009 season.
In 2008, Dempster told me in spring training he would win 18 games, he then won 17 in his best season as a Cub.
He also gave me a win total today which I can't divulge, but the number is higher than 14.