When Ryan Dempster was brought in at the trade deadline, it wasn't under any false pretenses.
Dempster wasn't supposed to be Cliff Lee from 2010, or even Zack Greinke, who the rival Los Angeles Angels traded for at the deadline. He was an innings-eater and a grinder, kind of a replacement for Colby Lewis, who had to undergo season-ending elbow surgery. And so far, Dempster has done a good job of what he was brought in to do. Dempster entered Tuesday's game in Anaheim having gone at least six innings in seven straight starts, but that streak came to a crash-and-burn ending on Tuesday as he failed to get out of the fourth inning as the Angels opened the three-game series with an 11-3 win.
If you remember, the first start Dempster made in a Rangers uniform was against the Angels, who at the time were one of the hottest teams in baseball. He got bombed, giving up eight runs in less than five innings before being bailed out by his offense and earning a no-decision. We chalked it up to a change of surroundings and some understandable jitters.
This time, we can chalk it up to an uncharacteristic lack of control, one that led to the worst start of the season for Dempster — American League or National League.
Let's examine the teams Dempster had his way with in this recent streak he's gone on: Baltimore, Minnesota, Cleveland, Kansas City and Cleveland again. In two starts against the Angels, he's pitched a total of eight innings and given up a total of 13 earned runs with six walks an six strikeouts.
You can only pitch against the teams that are on the schedule, but that is a bit concerning. If Tuesday night did anything it just re-inforced the fact that Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison are this team's top two pitchers come playoff time, and Derek Holland and Ryan Dempster are battling it out for No. 3 and No. 4.
But then again, that's OK. That's perfectly acceptable for a guy for whom you gave up two Class-A pitchers who will never likely see the big leagues.