ST. PETERSBURG - SEPTEMBER 07: Pitcher Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 7, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Derek Holland had recently resembled the same pitcher he was at this time last year when he was one of the best starters in the league over the second half of the season and into the playoffs.
Monday night was not one of his good nights though, as Holland struggled with his command from the get-go, got into too many bad counts and ended up throwing 77 pitches through three innings while allowing three runs before being removed in favor of Roy Oswalt.
Yeah, it was a stinker for Holland, but it wasn't the stinker of the eight-run, one-plus innings variety. He just didn't have his command and it ended up being his shortest start since the embarrassing 21-8 loss to Seattle back on May 30.
"It was pretty frustrating," Holland told reporters. "I just didn't hit my spots. I pitched behind the whole game. I didn't throw any of my off-speed [pitches] for strikes. I was very wild. Everything was moving more than my natural movement."
But fear not, Rangers fans. Holland has been very good over an extended amount of time with the exception of Monday's game. Prior to Monday, Holland was 4-0 over his last six starts, going 7, 6, 7, 8, 7 and 7 innings, respectively while giving up just 13 runs over that time.
The Rangers will need a big October from Holland to give them a chance to get back to the World Series, and if his last October start was any indicator, they will see just that. Remember, Holland turned in the greatest postseason start in club history when he pitched 8 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball in the Rangers' Game 4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in last year's World Series.
For now, Holland will just have to forget about Monday night, be thankful for his bullpen and move on to his weekend start on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels, who he beat last week, going seven innings and giving up two runs.