There will be plenty of pressure on Ryan Dempster to make his first start with Texas a winning one as the Rangers try to salvage a split of their four-game series with the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. Dempster, who had the second-lowest ERA in the National League (2.25) while pitching for the Chicago Cubs, was traded to Texas on Tuesday. He will jump headfirst into an American League West pennant race which figures to go down to the wire. The Rangers are four games ahead of the Angels following their improbable 11-10 victory in 10 innings on Wednesday.
The Texas Rangers are four games ahead of the Angels following their improbable 11-10 victory in 10 innings on Wednesday. With Colby Lewis (torn flexor tendon) and Neftali Perez (Tommy John surgery) out for the season, Roy Oswalt not pitching like his 162-95 career record would reflect and rookie Yu Darvish and Derek Holland struggling, the Rangers need Dempster to stabilize the rotation. Dempster will have to deal with the Angels’ Albert Pujols, who has four homers in his last two games and is 7-for-15 in the series. He is also hitting .327 with seven homers and 14 RBIs in 55 career at-bats against Dempster.
Los Angeles vs Texas
When: 8:05 PM ET, Thursday, August 2, 2012
Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FS West (Los Angeles), FS Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH C.J. Wilson (9-7, 2.88 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Ryan Dempster (NR)
Wilson, who left Texas to sign with Los Angeles in the offseason, was 9-4 with a 2.36 ERA after winning at Baltimore 7-3 on June 26. He is winless in six starts since, although he has allowed more than three runs only once during that span. Wilson is 0-1 in three starts this season against his old team, but the Angels are 2-1 in those contests. Wilson faced five batters and allowed four runs and three hits in one-third of an inning in his first encounter May 11 and didn’t return after a two-hour rain delay in Texas’ 10-3 rout. He started the next night and yielded two runs in 5 2/3 innings in the Angels’ 4-2 victory.
The Rangers beat out teams such as the Braves, Yankees and Dodgers to acquire the services of Dempster. He lost his last two starts with the Cubs, including a 3-2 setback to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday when he allowed three runs, five hits and struck out six in six innings. Dempster is 117-121 lifetime – all in the National League, including 5-5 with the Cubs in 2012. Dempster, who is 5-6 with a 3.50 ERA in his last 14 interleague starts, has never faced the Angels.
1. Texas on Wednesday rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning – capped by Elvis Andrus’ two-run single – after Pujols and Chris Iannetta had homered in the top half to put Los Angeles ahead 10-7. The Angels also blew a 7-1 lead after 3½ innings after Ian Kinsler sent the game into extra innings with a homer in the ninth.
2. Los Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout set an American League rookie record with 10 homers in July and tied the major league rookie mark for RBIs in July with 32 (Hal Trosky, 1934 Cleveland Indians). His RBI total was the most by a rookie in any month since Minnie Minoso drove in 32 for the Chicago White Sox in May 1951. Trout, who leads the AL with a .348 average, also scored 80 runs in his first 81 games. The last rookie to reach 80 runs in 81 or fewer games was the New York Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio in 1936 (76 games).
3. The Rangers went 9-14 (.391) in July, their lowest winning percentage for a month since going 11-18 (.379) in August 2008.