Derek Holland has been basically an automatic lock to go at least six innings — most of the time more — and keep his team in games this season in what has been his best season as a whole of his still young career.
On Monday, he was bad, and he knew it. The lefty got a quick hook from manager Ron Washington after giving up his second two-run homer of the day in the fifth inning — one so close to being foul it had to be reviewed to be called fair. But it was fair, and Holland's day was done.
"That was a [expletive] performance," Holland told reporters after the game, referring to a bovine animal's solid waste.
You've got to like to the fire and competitiveness of being upset with himself, but his bad outing could not have come at a worse time — coming off a series loss to Minnesota and trying to keep the Oakland A's from pulling into a first-place tie in the AL West.
And don't be mistaken, the Rangers' offense did nothing to help their pitcher, scoring their only two runs on a two-run blast from David Murphy in the top of the fifth to tie the game — a lead Holland promptly gave back in the next half-inning.
But Holland has to be better than he was on Monday, and he usually has been, especially on the road this season. But Monday was not the time to buck that trend.