It might come as a surprise, but Derek Holland (+2.7 fWAR) has been just as valuable as Yu Darvish (+2.7 fWAR) in 2013. Darvish obviously catches the headlines — as well as the bobble-head nights — and Holland has been more of the Teddy Roosevelt figure, walking softly and carrying a big stick (in a manner of speaking).
You can manipulate the stats any way you’d like; Holland checks out. He’s produced a strikeout rate of 8.59/9 IP, a walk rate of 2.39/9 IP, and his .324 BABIP should regress moving forward — thus helping his ERA.
If you are breaking down pure stuff, Darvish puts Derek Holland in the fetal position, but that’s really to say that Yu’s overall repertoire is unparalleled when it’s going right. The one aspect that Holland has excelled in in 2013 has been his HR/FB%, which right now sits at an awfully low 5.7%; Yu Darvish, for instance, has been just as fortunate in the BABIP department (.254) as he’s been unlucky giving up home runs (13.0% HR/FB).
I know you came here to read about how the Rangers got shitted on against the Indians on Tuesday night, and I’ll get to that, but the focus of this site is the larger sample, and I don’t want to mistake that. Naturally I have a couple players I pick on every year — this year it’s David Murphy, mainly — but I don’t want that to be confused with the big picture. The Rangers are a damn good baseball team and the things we, as fans, complain about are minimal in comparison to 90% of the other teams in the league.
On Tuesday, Derek Holland labored through his worst start of the season, throwing 85 pitches over 4.1 innings on the bump. After striking out the side on 11 pitches in the first inning, Holland gave up 4 runs on 9 hits in the following 3.1 IP, and by the time his night was over, it seemed the same for the offense.
Facing Corey Kluber, a virtually unknown RHP, the Rangers were stymied throughout the night, which was aided by some bad luck and bad base running.
In 8.0 innings Kluber allowed 6 hits and 3 bases on balls, yet Texas wiped themselves out of three different innings via some variation of a double-play, and didn’t get a runner to 3rd base until there were two outs in the bottom of the 7th. The offense personified hopelessness.
The bullpen was solid, again, holding the Indians to only 1 run on 2 hits in 4.2 IP, which isn’t particularly relevant in terms of winning the game, but the fact that they gave the offense the potential to turn things around is worth mention. There will be nights, maybe 2 or 3 times out of 10, that the Texas offense makes up a 4-run deficit and wins a game at home. They have that ability.
Sabermetrically speaking, bullpen effectiveness is broken down in terms of a Shutdown (adding >6% to the team’s WPA) vs. a Meltdown (subtracting <6% to the team’s WPA).
In 2013 the Rangers are tied for the lowest amount of Meltdown’s in MLB (18), and are 3rd in FanGraphs’ Clutch metric (3.06).
In short, we have a good bullpen.