ARLINGTON -- Derek Holland has had impressive stretches before, including back-to-back shutouts against Seattle and Oakland on July 7 and 14, but those were not as positive for Rangers manager Ron Washington as the four quality starts Holland's turned in in his last four outings. That is because he faced trouble in those starts and responded. In the fifth inning of Wednesday's 9-1 win over the Indians, Cleveland third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall led off the inning with a home run. Holland seemed to struggle with concentration when he walked the next batter, Lou Marson, on five pitches. Earlier in the year, Holland had earned a reputation of being spooked easily, where the first sign of trouble would cause him to lose focus.
On Wednesday, he responded by getting Trevor Crowe to fly out to center and then striking out Kosuke Fukudome and Jason Donald to end the threat. "[He's] just growing up. He's believing in himself. He's not being overwhelmed when he gets into tough situations like he did earlier in the year," Washington said. "He's starting to figure out that you can get into tough situations as long as there's minimum damage. If the minimum damage is accessed, then you did your job.
"Before, when he would get in trouble, it would just snowball. Now he might give up one, he might give up two. But he doesn't give up four or five, and that's the difference right there."Holland, for his part, believes that the key is simply making better pitches. "Everything is still the same," Holland said. "I haven't done anything different, I'm just making better pitches, that's really it. That's what it comes down to."