Last time Derek Holland took the ball for the Texas Rangers it was pressure packed. In game No. 161 last Sept. 28, he allowed four runs in four innings of a win over the Angels that kept his team alive for a playoff play-in game.
Tonight in Kansas City should be a tad less intense.
At stake when Holland makes his season debut against the Royals? A chance to avoid loss No. 85 on the season.
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After an accident tripping over his dog, surgery on his left knee in January and six underwhelming rehab starts in the minors, Holland finally makes his first appearance of 2014. In a forgettable season, the Rangers are desperate for any kind of positive news heading into the Fall.
Holland has been dominant at times for the Rangers, from his clutch performance in Game 4 of the 2011 World Series to last September’s complete-game shutout of the Astros. But the bar should be set considerably lower tonight.
He went 2-1 with a 4.43 ERA during his rehab assignment and gave up two homers last week pitching for Triple-A Round Rock. Manager Ron Washington wanted to see Holland dominate minor-league hitters before taking the mound for Texas.
But in this season, just seeing their lefty back in uniform will have to suffice.
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 currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.