When the Texas Rangers gave up two Class-A pitchers in exchange for one of the best ERAs in baseball on the July 31 trade deadline, many fans might have expected Cliff Lee-type stuff and results. That just wasn't in the stars, and it didn't take long for people to realize that.
Ryan Dempster is essentially Colby Lewis, otherwise known as "a guy" who is a really good No. 3 pitcher in the bigs with the potential to have No. 2 stuff when he's really on. Monday night was one of those nights for Dempster, who looked great against a powerful Baltimore Orioles lineup, and did so in Rangers Ballpark where he'd struggled up to that point.
On Monday, Dempster cruised through eight innings, retiring the final 11 batters he faced, and bounced back after giving up his only run in the top of the first inning thanks to a lined shot that just skipped past the glove of first baseman Mitch Moreland.
Dempster had his slider working like a dream on Monday, keeping pitches low and forcing lots of groundballs. In fact, thanks to ESPN Stats & Info, only two of Dempster's sliders were hit in the air.
That's Dempster at his best, folks. And if it can start a trend, the Rangers just might have a top-flight guy, after all.
"I had a good slider," Dempster said after the game. "I haven’t had that a couple times since I’ve been here yet. We worked hard in between starts to get that going and just try to keep the ball in the middle of the plate."