"Well, for starters, one of the best things is he knows he can pitch here," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "That's something everybody has to overcome and realize, 'Yes, I can pitch in the big leagues.' He showed that.
"He's definitely become a four-pitch pitcher, willing to throw any pitch in any count. There has been a fusion that comes from trial and error on how to use all his pitches over the course of the year."
Holland won his most recent start, beating Tampa Bay, 8-3, on Friday. But he allowed three runs in five innings and is now 1-5 with an 11.17 ERA in his past six games.
"I just want to finish strong and on a good note," Holland said, "stay positive and give it everything I have."
TEX: LHP Derek Holland (8-12, 6.14 ERA)
Holland returns to the scene of his greatest moment of the season. He took the mound against the Angels on Aug. 29 and threw a three-hit shutout. He allowed three singles, walked one and struck out eight. It may have been the best start by a Rangers pitcher this season. But in his most recent start against the Angels, in Arlington earlier this month, he allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 10-5 loss.
LAA: RHP Trevor Bell (1-1, 9.50)
Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn't tipping his hand, saying only he had another surprise. It figures to be Bell, a rookie right-hander with a power arm, or Matt Palmer, who has been a boost to the staff as both a starter and reliever in going 10-2 with a 4.17 ERA in 38 appearances, 12 as a starter. Bell was impressive in his first two starts, winning his second outing in Cleveland, but several rough outings have inflated his ERA.
Matt Harrison, who had shoulder surgery this summer, is planning to pitch in the Arizona Fall League for the Surprise Rafters. The goal is for him to pitch as a starter and get him up to 40 innings. ... Rangers prospect Justin Smoak, who hit .291 with nine home runs and 22 RBIs, was named the MVP of the Baseball World Cup after leading the United States to the gold medal. ... The Rangers have been shut out 12 times this year, the most since 14 in 1992. The 11-0 margin on Monday night was the biggest since a 13-0 loss to Oakland on June 26, 2003. ... Elvis Andrus has enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. Since he didn't turn 21 until after June 30, he is the first player 20 years old or younger to qualify for the batting title since Adrian Beltre in 1999.
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105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270 (Español)
Thursday: Rangers (Kevin Millwood, 12-10, 3.75) at Angels (TBD), 5:05 p.m. CT
Friday: Rangers (Brandon McCarthy, 7-4, 4.47) at Mariners (Ian Snell, 7-10, 4.86), 9:10 p.m. CT
Saturday: Rangers (Tommy Hunter, 9-5, 4.10) at Mariners (Ryan Rowland-Smith, 4-4, 3.91), 8:10 p.m. CT