On Sunday MLB.com reported that Matt Harrison pitched a pain free bullpen session. In most situations when it is reported that a teams fifth starter pitched a pain free bullpen situation you look forward to him coming off the disabled list and making his next start. The Rangers coming into spring training were taunted as having the best farm system in Major League Baseball.
So when Harrison ended up on the disabled list earlier this month, the Rangers called up the next best option in Derek Holland from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Holland made his first start on May 12 against the Oakland Athletics. He pitched 6 innings giving up no earned runs. His win put the Ranger’s atop of the American League West.
Five days later this evening Holland stepped on the mound versus another American League West foe in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels have not done as well this season such as earlier seasons, normally they are consistently atop the A.L. West. Tonight’s start was not as great as the start against the Athletics, it was still good enough to earn him the win.
He pitched 5.1 innings giving up five hits, with 3 earned runs and 3 strikeouts. The main difference in tonight’s start compared to his previous start was that he was not able to get as many strike outs against the Angels. In his first start he got 7 strikeouts in 6 full innings and in tonight’s game he only pitched 5.1 innings getting only 3 strikeouts, so essentially in tonight’s game he relied a lot on the defense of the Rangers around him.
In the top of the 6th inning Torii Hunter greeted Holland with a homer to left center field. At this point the Rangers are up 4-3. Then Kendry Morales walks before Holland got Hideki Matsui to pop out to second baseman Ian Kinsler. So after getting the first out of the inning, the Rangers replaced Holland with reliever Dustin Nippert, leaving Holland in line for the win.
Nippert finished the inning scoreless working around one walk. Darren Oliver them came into pitch the seventh and eighth inning giving up no hits, or runs, getting one strike out. The Rangers then sent closer Neftali Feliz to the mound to save the win for Holland and he pitched a scoreless ninth for his 1oth save of the season and Holland’s second win of the season.