ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers starting pitcher Ryan Dempster isn't doing anything fancy these days. But the veteran has clearly settled into a groove and is throwing strikes, getting out of jams and winning games.
It didn't appear early in Wednesday's game that he'd have a deep effort in him. He was piling up pitches and creating tight situations for himself. The toughest one came in the fourth, when he gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs. But he struck out Lonnie Chisenhall and then got Casey Kotchman to hit a ground ball up the middle. The Rangers weren't able to turn a double play to end the inning, so a run scored. But Dempster limited the damage with a strikeout of Brent Lillibridge.
"In the fourth, they hit some ground balls to the right spots," Dempster said. "If they hit a ball two feet to the left, it's a tailor-made double play ball; instead they were harder balls to get to. I was trying to make pitches. It's nice when you have a lead. You can manage the inning. I loaded the bases and just tried to get out of it."
Dempster has now won five straight games. He has a 1.91 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 10 walks and is making a strong case for prime position in the playoff rotation. He seems to fit into that Colby Lewis mold pretty well, just going about his job, giving the club quality innings and giving them a chance to win games.
"I just have to do my job, be prepared and try to execute as many pitches as possible," Dempster said.
He did that on Wednesday and helped the Rangers to a second straight win.