Ryan Dempster really worried a lot of Rangers fans in his first start with Texas. Most media members wrote Dempster off as the veteran made his debut in the American League and that the Rangers were left with the bottom of the barrel when it came to pitchers at the trade deadline.
However, no one mentioned that C.J. Wilson also struggled in that game allowing the same amount of runs as Dempster and that what many saw as a narrative that Dempster was not cut out for the American League was in reality a one game sample which doesn’t prove much of anything.
Of course, that’s the thinking now after Dempster went into Boston and pitched as good as a non-dominating pitcher can be expected to pitch. He went into the seventh inning without an earned run, allowing six hits and the only three runs on a homerun by Will Middlebrooks. He also struck out six and walked one. This is just a second game, and not much of a sample size but this was the Dempster that the Cubs saw for most of the season and the Rangers hoped to be getting when he was acquired: a steady, reliable pitcher that allows his team a chance to win.
As Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish have shown (in Harrison’s success and Darvish’s struggles) flashy doesn’t always mean successful and Dempster is in that group. He is a very good Major League starting pitcher despite not looking like one. People always wait for the other shoe to drop with guys like this. They never think that they can be successful for long and when they show the first sign of weakness, they pile on. However, Dempster has been there before. He bounced back like a pro and I would expect more of that to come as the season continues.
* We have seen pretty much every side of Mike Olt so far in his time in the Majors, except for the power. He is somebody with an advanced hit tool and we’ve seen him get some big hits but he also strikes out and his 0/2 day with two strikeouts shows that. He is here to get experience and develop in time to perhaps make the playoff roster so growing pains are to be expected.
* Josh Hamilton went 2/4 and even drew a walk! Progress?