Holland Faces Big Test In Yankees

Derek Holland will pitch the biggest game of his life on Wednesday, as Texas takes on New York in Arlington

When Derek Holland was initially called up to the Rangers last month, many felt that it was a desperation move by a team struggling with relief.
When Holland made his first Major League start last Friday in Houston, there were significantly less critics. The 22 year-old went 5 2/3 of scoreless baseball until he made a mistake to Lance Berkman, a pitch that was left up and sent directly to the left field facade of Minute Maid Park.
On Wednesday, Holland will pitch the biggest game of his career thus far, as he takes on a loaded Yankees lineup at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Given his youth, and the vaguely frightening New York lineup, this could potentially backfire. It won't be because Holland doesn't have the stuff to beat the Yankees, because he does; no doubt. If he loses, it will be a learning experience of phenomenal worth.
If he wins, though, it would be a monumental confidence builder for the wunderkind, moving forward.
Take, for example, Scott Feldman. Last July, Feldman, then bouncing between AAA Oklahoma and the Rangers, shut down the Yankees through 5+, giving Texas a 2-1 win in Yankee Stadium.
Since then, Feldman's confidence has grown exponentially; he made the club out of spring training and was placed in the rotation shortly thereafter, where he has thrived ever since.
It will be a test, no doubt, which is a positive regardless of how you look at it; for a young team like these Rangers, these are increasingly par for the course. The Marlins were tested incessantly in 2003; the Rays were tested in 2008. Both teams are proof that these tasks are crucial in the construction of a winner.
Win or lose, Holland will emerge a better pitcher after Wednesday night is said and done.
Kind of scary, considering he's already pretty dang good, at 22 years-old.
Oh, yeah, and, just in case he didn't have enough of an arsenal, the kid is now working on a curveball, to frustrate the eye level of opposing hitters.
My, oh, my.

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