After a rough debut for the Texas Rangers, Ryan Dempster has settled in fairly well with the AL West division leaders.
Dempster is (3-1, 2.99 ERA) since the trade having won three of his last four starts. In five outings he’s lasted six or more innings on every occasion except one, and three have been quality efforts.
It took Dempster 10 starts to earn his first win with Chicago this season, and it wasn’t until June 15 that he won his third game, largely due to a lack of run support.
That, of course, isn’t an issue in Texas. The Rangers lead the major leagues in runs scored (665). The Cubs, meanwhile, rank second to last (470).
THE LONG BALL
What is of concern, however, are the six home runs Dempster’s allowed. Only once has he avoided allowing a long ball with Texas after serving up all of nine home runs with the Cubs through 14 starts.
This pattern might be explained with his unfamiliarity with the American League, or it could be a reaffirming notion Dempster is better suited as a National League starter–not that there’s any going back at this point.
Also of interest is that of Dempster’s two bad outings (Angels, Yankees) he allowed eight earned-runs on both occasions against two teams Texas could very well face this postseason.
WILL DEMPSTER PITCH THIS OCTOBER?
It’s unlikely Ron Washington would pencil Dempster in as one of his top three postseason starters, which would appear to be Matt Harrison (15-7), Yu Darvish (12-9) & Derek Holland (8-6).
That leaves Dempster to compete with Colby Lewis, Scott Feldman & Roy Oswalt as the swing man in a seven game series. And even by the current numbers Dempster wouldn’t top that list either.
But I wouldn’t completely rule Dempster out of Washington’s postseason plans. I speculate there may be a scenario where Dempster is used in a late-inning relief role.
Dempster did manage 87 career saves for the Cubs, and if he does have aspirations of pitching this October, the bullpen may be his best, if not only, option to do so.