There are presumably few better descriptions for Derek Holland’s introduction into a major league rotation than “baptism by fire.”
Holland continued to struggle on Sunday, surrendering five hits and four runs in five innings to the National League West leading Dodgers.
Texas would go on to lose 6-3.
The 22 year-old got the loss, bringing his record to 1-4.
His ERA is now 6.63, and some are beginning to wonder aloud what should be done with the right-hander, who began the year as a gem in the Rangers’ vaunted farm system.
In four starts, Holland has faced the Houston Astros, the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers—three of these are powerful, dangerous, disciplined hitting teams.
His only quality start (although not statistically—also, not surprisingly) came in Houston a month ago, as he went 5 2/3 scoreless before surrendering a three-run shot to Lance Berkman. Holland was pulled after that.
So what should Texas do with Holland? This is an increasingly relevant question.
Holland’s confidence seemed to be rocked considerably after Sunday’s loss, as he spoke to a throng of media figures at his locker. “This is ridiculous,” he said. “I should be helping my team, and I don’t feel like I’ve done anything to help my team.”
Manager Ron Washington and several teammates remained confident however, citing Holland’s youth and (still) impressive array of pitches, and the team will continue to trot him out, it seems, at this juncture.
This may be more out of necessity than anyone would lead on (and why would they?), but that won’t make any difference moving forward. Doug Mathis struggled in his only start of the year, and Guillermo Moscoso is presumably not ready for his debut as a starter.
With Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list, Holland will be left to sink, swim, and (hopefully) mature—and perhaps all three.
Holland is scheduled to face Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
While this isn’t a walk in the park, it is a sight less intimidating for a young pitcher than doing battle with the Yankees in New York or the Red Sox at Fenway.
Holland will, sooner or later, heed the lessons he learned the hard way in these starts.
Because as Washington and the Rangers seem content to leave him out there, for better or worse, he really doesn’t have much of a choice.
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