The Texas Rangers didn't get the stud No. 1 pitcher they were coveting at the July 31 trade deadline to bolster a pitching staff that has both Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz on the shelf for the rest of the season. Instead, Jon Daniels & Co. made an 11th hour deal to bring Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs and his 2.25 ERA this season. And they did so without giving up much of anything — just two Class A prospects for a guy who will be a free agent in November. Not bad at all.
Well, that was until Dempster made his Rangers debut on Thursday night against the Rangers' fiercest rival, the Los Angeles Angels as the Rangers were trying to split a four-game set. Dempster lasted just 4 2/3 innings and gave up eight runs while continuously giving up a lead his offense had provided for him.
So yeah, it wasn't an ideal debut, but don't sweat too much, Rangers fans. At least not yet.
Remember back to Cliff Lee's Rangers debut back on July 10, 2010 when he gave up six runs and allowed three home runs to the Balitmore Orioles in a 6-1 loss. He did go the full nine innings, but the results weren't what Rangers fans had hoped for. After that it got much better.
Heck, even more recently, look at Yu Darvish's Rangers debut when he gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Seattle Mariners before his offense bailed him out and he scored a victory.
Am I comparing Dempster to Lee? No, but let's not freak out just yet, folks. The Angels have one of the hottest lineups going in baseball right now and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was a bona fide launching pad on Thursday night with an insane jet stream that turned Mark Trumbo's first-inning pop-up to right into a first-inning home run.
Some scathing reports came out about Dempster and numerous scouts' opinions of him heading to the AL came out after the trade deadline and alluded to the fact that the Rangers' top competition on him at the deadline, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, were actually not really that interested in him at all.
At least Dempster could fess up to not having the best night, giving up more runs than he had in his previous seven starts.
"It just came down to lack of execution on some pitches and I'll try to better that next time," Dempster told reporters. "It's hot. But it's been hot plenty of times when I've been out there pitching. You try to make pitches and go from there."