We haven’t seen Derek Holland this good since perhaps the 2011 World Series.
We haven’t seen a Rangers’ pitcher so dominant since maybe Nolan Ryan.
Yep, he was that good on Sunday.
In only his fourth start back from missing most of the season with a strained shoulder, the left totally handcuffed the Orioles Sunday in a three-hit, 11-strikeout, 116-pitch, complete-game shutout. Holland’s fastballs were strikes, his changeups were pin-point and his slider was a devastating out pitch, producing seven of his strikeouts.
How good was he? It was the Rangers’ first complete-game shutout with at least 11 strikeouts since Ryan’s 16-strikeout no-hitter against the Blue Jays way back in 1991.
“I executed all my pitches, the defense was making some outstanding plays behind me, and the offense put up the runs,” Holland said in the post-game clubhouse. “I’m just glad to get back and get a complete game.”
In the annals of Rangers’ lefties, the performance ranks right up there with Cliff Lee’s Game 5 playoff start against the Rays in 2011, Holland’s 8.1 scoreless innings against the Cardinals in Game 4 of the ’11 Series and, of course, Kenny Rogers’ perfect game in ’94.
The gem not only helped the Rangers sweep the Orioles, it boosts their post-season chances immensely. A team that once labored with a rotation featuring Wandy Rodriguez and Ross Detwiler now surges into September with quality lefties Holland, Cole Hamels and Martin Perez.
As gut-wrenching as Holland’s Opening Day injury was at the time, Sunday’s start puts him in position to be one of the best late-season additions in franchise history.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.