Ryan Dempster, who was acquired by the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline, has been pretty darn good since joining the Rangers after pitching for the lowly Chicago Cubs.
But when you dig a little deeper, you realize most of Dempster's success has come against losing teams such as Cleveland (twice), Kansas City, Minnesota and Boston, with his one good start against a good team coming against the Baltimore Orioles (8 IP, 1 run). There's one team in particular that has been a thorn in Dempster's side since he came to the AL, and that's the team he made his Rangers debut against, the Los Angeles Angels.
That's who he will face tonight as the Rangers' magic number to clinch the AL West sits at 3 while their number to clinch a playoff berth is 1. He'll face Angels ace Jered Weaver, who has a rough history against the Rangers in Arlington, but it's not much worse than Dempster's brief history against the Angels since coming over from the NL.
In two starts against the Angels since coming to Texas, Dempster is 0-1 with a combined eight innings of work in which he's allowed 13 earned runs, 15 hits, six strikeouts and six walks. Big ouch there.
Dempster has a spot in the playoff rotation locked up, there's no doubt about that. But he needs to start showing he can pitch well against good baseball teams because there aren't bad teams playing in October.