It was a good weekend for the Rangers left-handed starting pitchers.
Derek Holland went Saturday and threw four shutout innings while allowing just one hit. Matt Harrison gave up a run and a hit in his five innings of work on Sunday. For a team that's breaking in one starter new to the United States and another new to the rotation, it has to feel awfully good to see such good performances from two key holdovers from last year's AL champions.
It's also creating some questions for the Rangers as they move toward the regular season. Right now, Holland and Harrison are pitching back-to-back behind Colby Lewis, a set-up that some people find problematic.
Understanding why that's a problem at this point in the season is a bit difficult. Presumably you'd like to split up similar pitchers so that hitters are constantly adjusting over the course of a short series, something that's of partcular concern with the cliched crafty lefty who survives on a guile instead of power.
Holland and Harrison's similarities pretty much end with the fact that they both throw from the left side. Neither one fits that traditional blueprint since they both throw hard, but they throw hard in different ways. Holland throws four-seam fastballs and sliders much more often than Harrison, who uses curveballs and changeups more regularly.
They are providing different looks to hitters even if both of them throw with the same arm. What's more, the Rangers' schedule in the first month of the season doesn't set them up to throw against the same team more than twice if they remain in the second and third rotation spots. Projecting much beyond that doesn't make much sense since there are way too many variables in play when plotting out pitching.
In a playoff series, you want to maximize your matchup advantages. Over the course of a 162-game season, you want to get as many starts from your best pitchers as possible.
As of right now, Holland and Harrison are guys you want to start more often than Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz. That can change or injuries can force you to shuffle, but there's no reason to break something that doesn't need fixing just because two guys throw with the same hand.