Ryan Dempster adjusts, succeeds with humor

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There's a reason that a gaggle of media enjoy cornering Ryan Dempster a day or two before he starts. And it's not just because he's found the same groove in Texas that he was in Chicago this season, making him a reliable member of the Rangers' rotation.

Dempster, you see, is also very entertaining. His straight-faced humor makes certain sessions with him feel like stand-up routines. Who doesn't enjoy a quick comedy show in a major league clubhouse?

Take Sunday, for example. When asked the biggest adjustment he's made to go from a guy who struggled in his early starts in Texas to one who has won five consecutive starts, all of them quality outings, Dempster put on a serious face.

"Probably changing my underwear," Dempster said, his expression never changing. "They were definitely really unlucky."

Pressed as to why it took so long for Dempster to make a simple adjustment, he added: "Yeah, well, I'm stubborn. I'm a Taurus."

That's Dempster. He never takes himself too seriously and likes to keep things light. Of course, when he's on the mound, he's serious about getting opposing batters. He's done that in impressive fashion the last five starts, winning all of them and pitching deep into games. He's been getting ahead of hitters, throwing strikes and avoiding the big inning. He gets another chance tonight in Anaheim as he takes on the Los Angeles Angels and pitcher Jered Weaver at 9:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.

"Baseball is a huge game of adjustments, and I was able to make some, and do a better job of executing pitches, and just maintaining my focus on the task at hand and going out there and trying to execute one pitch at a time," Dempster said.

The last time he faced the Angels, it was Aug. 2 in Arlington. Dempster allowed eight runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings but got a no-decision as the Rangers won the game. So what does Dempster plan on doing to have a better performance this time?

"Just try to make better pitches," Demspter said.

Then, he added he might wear different underwear.

"Might not wear any," Dempster said.