Despite his brilliant few months with the Cubs, earlier this season, nobody should have expected Ryan Dempster to pitch brilliantly every time he pitched for the Rangers after joining them in a big trade.
Still, everyone expected better than the 4.64 ERA Dempster sported with his new club, entering today's crazy-important start against the Athletics. And there was reason for optimism before the crazy-important start. In his last eight starts for Texas, Dempster's gone 6-2 with a 3.33 ERA, along with 51 strikeouts and 18 walks in 49 innings. That's plenty good for the American League. And if Dempster actually beats the A's today ... well, it'll seem like a good trade unless he gets beat up in the playoffs.
The early signs aren't good, though. In the bottom of the first inning, consecutive singles by Stephen Drew and Yoenis Cespedes were followed by Brandon Moss's double into the right-field corner, plating Drew with the game's first run. Dempster did escape with no more damage.
The inning, though, fairly symbolizes what's happened these last few months. The Rangers paid dearly to acquire Dempster, and he's been just decent. The A's paid nothing to acquire Moss, and he's been one of the key reasons for their incredible second-half comeback in the standings.
Of course, it's just one inning, and one game. We'll check back in eight innings, and in a month.