The Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 on a Monday night in Texas. This was a well-played game that eventually some team was going to win, which most Major League Baseball games are. The Rangers just happened to be the team that ended up winning, as they gained the lead in the 4th inning and never looked back.
Were it not for the previous 14 years of his career, plus April through July of this year, we would have no idea who or what Ryan Dempster is. In four starts for the Rangers, he has now won two games and lost two games. In the two games he has won, his ERA is 0.67. In the two games he has lost, his ERA is 13.50. In total, his ERA as a Ranger is 6.04, which isn’t very good, but look at those two games he pitched where he won! He was very good. But then look at those two games he pitched where he lost. He was very bad.
The Rangers traded for Dempster with five minutes to spare before the trading deadline because he had been a model of consistency in 2012. He has not been that as a member of the Texas Rangers, but I suppose there may be an adjustment period for a human being when he transitions from being employed with one company and then ten minutes later employed with another company. An argument could be made it’s that he’s in the American League for the first time and it has the DH, or that it’s hot in Texas, or that the Rangers ballpark is hard to pitch in, but really it probably isn’t those things. Ryan Dempster is a good pitcher, who was probably due for a little regression but will still be a good pitcher for Texas. On Monday night, Dempster was very good, completing eight innings, giving up just one run on four hits and two walks, striking out six.
Of course, pitching in Texas gets a whole lot easier when your shortstop is Elvis Andrus. Sometimes, I think the greatness of Andrus is lost on those who watch him play. It’s easy to forget that he doesn’t turn 24 years old for another five days. It’s easy to only remember the boneheaded plays he has made. It’s easy to see that his agent is Scott Boras, and that Andrus is only under contract through 2014, and that he might become a Yankee then because he’ll be a 26-year old shortstop hitting free agency in his prime, and that’s going to be a lot of money he signs for. It’s easy to see Jurickson Profar coming down the prospect pipeline, ready to rule the shortstop position in Texas for many years, if Andrus does indeed leave at some point in free agency. However, when Elvis does things like this, all of those excuses for overlooking his greatness can just be thrown right out the window:
As I said on Twitter, Jurickson Profar can’t do that.
David Murphy messed around and picked up two more hits for the Rangers. He is now hitting .526 over his last five games, and .367 in the month of August. For his career, Murphy is a .304 hitter in August. He has mentioned before that he tends to start slow, which appears to be an accurate statement once again this season. It looks like you can expect more of the same in September, where Murphy is a career .318 hitter.
Every member of the Rangers lineup had a hit on the night, which makes it a very difficult lineup to face. Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez breezed through the lineup for the first three innings, but once the Rangers saw him a second time they knocked him around the ballpark.
The Rangers’ next nine games are at home against the Orioles, Twins, and red-hot Rays. This is a great opportunity for Texas, who currently sits atop a 6-game lead over the Athletics, and a 9.5-game lead over the Angels. If the offense remains hot, and the pitching can turn out performances like what Dempster did on Monday night, the Texas stranglehold on the AL West will reach near half-nelson proportions.
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