Ryan Dempster didn't do much to disabuse anyone of the notion that he's a National League star and an American League also-ran on Monday night.
The Yankees tuned up the guy that they wanted to trade for before the Rangers landed him, making it twice in three starts that Dempster has been used as a punching bag by the opposing lineup. It's troublesome, to say the least.
But it isn't the only reason the Rangers got dirt kicked in their face on Monday night. The fact that the team couldn't figure out a way not to sabotage themselves on the bases was equally to blame for the way the game went. Ian Kinsler got picked off first base by a right-handed pitcher to end the second inning, a mind-boggling error given the hitters coming up behind him and the fact that David Phelps, a long reliever until Monday, was starting the game.
Kinsler's blunder pales in comparison to what Elvis Andrus did the next inning, though. With two on, one out and a 2-0 lead, Andrus managed to get himself picked off second base with Nelson Cruz at the plate. Cruz bounced out to end the inning, Dempster imploded in the bottom of the third and everything just snowballed from there.
At the time it looked like a mental error, but it was actually worse than that. Andrus explained what happened after the game.
"I was trying to steal," Andrus said. "He was giving me one look, two looks and I was ready. He just didn’t do what he was supposed to do, then did a pretty good job with the inside move. It’s not a good feeling for sure, especially in that situation. I was a little too aggressive, but I’m learning from that."
It takes a pretty fundamental lack of baseball understanding to think that stealing third in that spot against that pitcher is a good idea. Phelps had allowed seven of the first 13 hitters to reach base at that point and looked like he was ready to topple like a Jenga tower.
Andrus bailed him out, though, and the Rangers went down in a rout. Maybe it happens anyway because Dempster can't handle the Yankees, but why give them a chance to do it?
Small decisions have big impacts on games so the Rangers might consider taking them a bit more seriously for the rest of the series.