Is Ryan Dempster a Game 1 candidate?
The veteran starter can continue to make his case tonight against Cleveland. And he comes in with plenty of confidence. Dempster has five wins since Aug. 1, tied with four others in the AL for the most during that span, and has a four-game winning streak. After a rocky start to his Rangers career, Dempster has settled in and pitched more like the guy that was putting up an impressive ERA with the Chicago Cubs and became an important trade-deadline acquisition for the Rangers.
So what's been the key to Dempster's success the last handful of starts?
"My ability to stay focused on the task at hand and not look back, just keep looking forward," Dempster said. "I was pretty much doing the same thing there (in Chicago). I just had a couple of starts here where I didn't execute pitches and I paid for it."
Dempster has been adjusting to hitters in the AL and notes that he's pitching to an extra hitter, one that's a DH instead of the pitcher or a bench player batting for the pitcher deep in an NL lineup.
|Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar touches on his first few games in the majors, how he's handling the pressure, his acting career and more. |
Dempster hasn't been in too many jams in his last four starts. He's 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA with 28 strikeouts and nine walks. Opponents have hit .191 in those starts and he's pitched at least six innings in all of them.
Dempster is also a veteran who could give the rotation that steady hand. Is he the type of guy you'd want pitching Game 1 of the ALDS if he continues to pitch as he has the past four starts? Should he get consideration?
For me, I've still got this between Harrison and Darvish, but Dempster could change my mind. I like his mentality and consistency. He's pitching now like he did in Chicago, so he has a full season body of work. But so does Harrison, and no one on the staff is pitching better than Darvish right now. It's an interesting race.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.