Tag:Derek Holland
Posted on: October 25, 2011 1:50 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 2:26 am

Grading Game 5 of the World Series

By Matt Snyder

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers took a pivotal Game 5 of the series with a 4-2 victory Monday night. Let's hand out some grades yet again.

Mike Napoli was obviously an A, but we're already covered him ... twice. There's no need to go overboard with the love-fest, so I'm going off the board. True baseball fans have been winning all series, because it's been an amazing series; one of the best since the epic 2001 clash between the Yankees and Diamondbacks. So we'll give both teams an A for the entertainment so far. Speaking for myself only -- and I still consider myself a fan -- I'd like to thank both teams and tell them to keep it up. This is outstanding. We've had close games, huge hits, great defensive plays, a historic performance by Albert Pujols and a near-historic performance by Derek Holland. I just can't say enough about how great this series has been. And we may get two more games. We'll see, but it's hard to fathom this thing getting boring.

World Series Game 5
A huge reason the Rangers came into the series so hot was the bridge Alexi Ogando and Scott Feldman were providing to the eighth inning. But then both had been bad so far in the World Series -- pretty awful, in fact -- leaving a big question mark on what was supposed to be one of the Rangers' strengths. Maybe the rest provided by Holland in Game 4 helped, because while neither were sparkling Monday night, the decent outings had to be encouraging. Ogando allowed two hits and three walks in his inning, but two of those walks were intentional and his stuff looked more crisp. Feldman gave up a hit upon entering the game, but then got two big outs to end a threat, including a big strikeout.

The Rangers' defense has seemed a bit fickle this entire series, even if you can tell how much ability they have. The bad and good pretty much cancelled each other out Monday. David Murphy couldn't pick up a ball in the second, allowing Lance Berkman to advance to third. Then Berkman scored because Mitch Moreland botched what probably should have been a double-play ball. Of course, Murphy then made a spectacular diving catch to get out of the inning. Next inning, Moreland and C.J. Wilson teamed up to look like the Bad News Bears on a Furcal single, but a beautiful double play ended the inning. Later in the game, Elvis Andrus should have robbed Yadier Molina of a hit with an incredible across-the-body jump and throw, but Moreland couldn't dig the throw at first. But then in the seventh and the ninth, Napoli hosed Allen Craig at second on stolen base attempts.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa claims he called for "Motte" and not "Lynn" in the eighth inning, but, in the noise of the ballpark, the bullpen coach inadvertently heard "Lynn" and got the wrong guy up to throw. So La Russa didn't have the guy he wanted ready to face Napoli in that huge spot in the bottom of the eighth. He wanted Jason Motte, but Lance Lynn was in the bullpen. So La Russa kept left-hander Marc Rzepcyznski out there, who gave up the game-losing double. Considering Washington said "yes, I've had that happen before," about the phone gaffe, we'll grant La Russa a pass and only give him a D for the mishap. Still, isn't there something the Cardinals could have done there instead of letting a left-handed specialist face one of the most dangerous hitters in the lineup?

The Cardinals ability to take advantage of baserunners was abysmal. They left 12 men on base, including eight in scoring position. They also had Craig thrown out twice on stolen base attempts. Seven hits, nine walks and a hit-by-pitch ... and two runs is all you come up with? That's awful. Easiest F I've ever given. Matt Holliday, if I can single someone out, needs to bring a lot more to the table, or Pujols isn't going to see a pitch worth swinging at the rest of the series.

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 9:25 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 11:00 pm

Derek Holland does Will Ferrell doing Harry Caray

By C. Trent Rosecrans

So much for reverence… in the World Series we now get bad impressions of Will Ferrell as Harry Caray from Rangers pitcher Derek Holland. But hey, anything that keeps Tim McCarver from talking can't be all bad.

Still, it was pretty not good -- even though he appears to be getting a lot of mileage out of it. Holland was the in-game guest of McCarver and Joe Buck, as the two regurgitated a tidbit they'd read in a tweet or blog post in the last 12 hours in some sort of Chirs Farley Show interview stylings.

Here's Holland channelling Ferrell:

Holland was 11 when Caray died, but does have a dog named "Wrigley" so perhaps he has actually heard Caray call a game. He also closed out his inning of national television doing a bad impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Even if his Caray and Schwarzenegger skills are a little subpar, his Ron Washington is pretty entertaining. Check it out:

The one thing Holland has done has solidified his future as a go-to guy for broadcasts -- and the next postseason without the Rangers, expect to see him employed, even with the creeper mustache. But hey, the mustache is still better than A.J. Pierzynski's highlights. That said, Rich Little's job is safe.

For the record, here's the real Caray:

And here's what Holland -- and Ryan Dempster (video), Johnny Bench and tons of others do -- is actually imitating:

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:20 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 6:47 pm

Game 4 beats NFL in TV ratings

Mike NapoliBy C. Trent Rosecrans

There's nothing like baseball ratings to get people all worked up over nothing, so how about we turn the tables?

The NFL is dead!

That's right, because Game 4 of the World Series pulled a bigger national rating than the Sunday night game of the Colts and Saints, it must mean the NFL is dead, nobody cares about the NFL and Roger Goodell is an idiot and must be fired, right? That's usually the way the discussion goes anytime the ratings of World Series game or baseball game in general are compared to an NFL game, so it's only fair to overreact the other way.

Of course, I'm kidding -- sort of. The point Matt made the other day about not caring about the ratings is still dead-on. However, we've pointed out the doom and gloom of baseball ratings so many times, I think it's germane to bring up Game 4's boffo ratings. Derek Holland's gem brought in 15.2 million viewers, a 9.2/14 television rating for Fox. Meanwhile, on NBC, the Saints' 62-7 thrashing of the Colts brought in an 8.2/13 overnight rating.

There are plenty of reasons why the Saints-Colts game didn't get the high ratings -- no Peyton Manning, a 21-0 Saints lead after the first quarter, the fact that Indianapolis and New Orleans are small markets (the NFL has those too, don't they?) But it's still a Sunday night game in primetime, featuring two teams that have won the Super Bowl in the last five seasons.

Through four games, the ratings are down just one percent from last season, as the 2011 World Series is averaging 8.2/13 rating as compared to 8.3/14 through four games for last year's Rangers-Giants World Series. The predictions and pre-Series screams of woe had many expecting much lower numbers. 

The bottom line, even for what has become a football nation, baseball was a better game on Sunday and the numbers reflect that people chose to watch baseball. And no matter what the numbers are for one game, we're a big enough country to support both and be able to enjoy both. The people who find baseball entertaining watched a highly entertaining baseball game. The people who don't enjoy baseball, probably didn't watch. But to pronounce one sport dead because of one night of ratings is silly -- no matter which sport has the bad night.

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 2:46 am
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Posted on: October 24, 2011 2:31 am
Edited on: October 24, 2011 4:06 pm

Overheard: Notes, quotes from World Series Game 4

By Matt Snyder

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The story was Derek Holland, but the Rangers gave a full team effort Sunday night in evening up the World Series at two wins apiece. Here are some of the post-game notes and quotes from Rangers Ballpark.

Mike Napoli will get plenty of credit for his offense this series, and rightfully so. But I was thinking ... back in Los Angeles, Angels manager Mike Scioscia used to justify playing Jeff Mathis over Napoli on a regular basis because of "catcher's ERA." You know, the ERA of the pitching staff with a certain catcher behind the plate. It's one of the main reasons the Angels let Napoli's bat go. Napoli's catcher's ERA this World Series? 1.38. Yorvit Torrealba's? 13.00. Of course it's a small sample, but it's worth noting: The Rangers pitchers don't exactly seem to get worse with Napoli behind the plate.

World Series
Something you didn't see on TV: The Rangers took the field in the top of the ninth inning without a pitcher for a while. Eventually, Holland emerged from the dugout and the crowd erupted.

• "I've seen it before, this was not the first dominant outing that Derek Holland had," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. Fellow starter Colby Lewis expressed the same sentiment in the locker room to a reporter who asked if it was the best Holland's ever pitched. People seem to be either forgetting or just ignorant to the fact that Holland threw four shutouts this year, including three in July. This wasn't the worst pitcher ever finding some magic out of the blue. It was just Holland digging deep and pitching to his potential.

• "If you wanna stay out here, you get on your knees." - Washington, on what he said to Holland when removing him from the game in the ninth. A complete-game shutout from Holland would have marked the first World Series shutout from an AL pitcher since Jack Morris in 1991.

• It's no secret Lance Berkman is a much better hitter from the left side of the plate, but it's been a different story in the World Series. He's evidently locked in from both sides of the plate. going 4-for-8 as a right-hander and 3-for-7 as a left-hander.

• "He worked us over, give him credit." - Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on Holland's performance.

• The 51,539 in attendance were a Rangers Ballpark season high, and the seventh-most in stadium history.

• "I wanted to execute all my pitches, that was the main thing," said Holland. "I wanted to go after these hitters. I wanted to show that I belong here. That was the main thing, I wanna make a name for myself. At the same time, I wanna get momentum back on our side."

• "I was looking up, and I got a pitch up that I could handle," Napoli said of his three-run shot.

• "I thought it was a double play waiting to happen," La Russa said of bringing in Mitchell Boggs to face Napoli.

• Napoli became the first catcher with a multi-homer World Series since Mike Piazza of the Mets did so in 2000.

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 1:18 am
Edited on: October 24, 2011 3:08 am

Grading Game 4 of the World Series


By Matt Snyder

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The "A" grade here isn't really going to shock you. But just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's not true.

Derek Holland was just dazzling. We knew he was capable of this because he threw four shutouts this season -- including a stretch of three shutouts in five starts during July -- but we just hadn't seen it for a while. So Holland gave a refresher. He located his 95-mph fastball and impressively commanded his breaking pitches. It's funny, if you didn't watch the game, his line -- 8 1/3 innings pitched, two hits, two walks, seven strikeouts -- almost doesn't do him justice. But, if you did watch the game, and had never even seen or heard of Holland before, you'd have thought he was a Cy Young candidate. This against a Cardinals offense that obliterated the Rangers Saturday night. The best part was preserving the stressed Texas bullpen.

We'll go with Neftali Feliz here. He came on and walked Allen Craig, which brought Albert Pujols -- you may have heard something about his power following Saturday's game -- to the plate with two on and one out. That's bad. But then Feliz got a soft lineout from Pujols and struck out Matt Holliday to preserve the victory.

I've held off long enough. We're going with Ron Washington's lineup here. It worked out in Game 4 because Josh Hamilton doubled in Elvis Andrus in the first inning and then Mike Napoli came through with the big blow in the sixth. But, seriously, opposing pitchers have to be much more fearful of the Beltre/Cruz/Napoli portion of the order than the 2-3-4 spots at this point. Beltre didn't have a good game Sunday night, but collected four hits Saturday. Napoli and Cruz have to scare the daylights out of Cardinals fans with their prodigious power, too. Meanwhile, Andrus is being asked to bunt Ian Kinsler over in the fifth inning. Why not get to the power earlier in the lineup and give those guys more at-bats? Napoli batting eighth just doesn't make any sense at all.

World Series
Edwin Jackson could have been much worse, but seven walks in 5 1/3 innings is pretty bad. He at least saved the bullpen from having to work as hard as it did following Kyle Lohse's bad outing in Game 3. Still, Jackson was so inefficient due to his lack of command that he couldn't get through six. And, again, seven walks. Man, that's bad. But only three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings isn't near as F-worthy as ...

The Cardinals offense followed up a historic performance in Game 3 by being shut down. I'd particularly shine the flashlight on Pujols and Holliday. The duo of All-Stars is among the best 3-4 combos in baseball, but they combined to go 0-for-8 with two strikeouts and four men left on base in Game 4. This came against a left-hander, too, who is much worse against righties than lefties. The entire offense -- other than Lance Berkman, who gathered the Cardinals' only two hits -- deserves an F here, but the big names need to be held the most accountable.

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:57 am
Edited on: October 24, 2011 3:07 am

Resilient Rangers never lose two in a row

By Matt Snyder

ARLINGTON, Texas -- If you're a gambler, here's a good tip: Bet on the Rangers in the next game after a loss. Upon completely handcuffing the Cardinals for a 4-0 victory in Game 4 of the World Series, the Rangers have now played 44 times since last losing consecutive games. They lost to the Red Sox on August 27, which was their third loss in a row. Since then, the Rangers have gone 31-13 and have yet to drop two straight in that span.

So what's the secret? Maybe it's just having no clue about this little "streak."

“I didn’t know that," said Game 3 starter Matt Harrison.

"No, I didn't know that," said Game 2 starter Colby Lewis. “I definitely don’t worry about stats, the only time I hear about stats is when you guys come up and report them to me.”

World Series
Of course, not everyone is unaware.

“Yeah, we’ve been told about it a lot over the past few weeks by you guys," Michael Young said, drawing laughs.

So it can't be blind ignorance to the "streak." Maybe it's the ability to have a short memory?

“The good players are the ones who turn the page and forget what happened in the past," second baseman Ian Kinsler offered up.

Maybe it's making adjustments?

“We’re good at making adjustments; we’re good at turning the page," Young said. “People talk about turning the page a lot, but the biggest thing is making sure you don’t completely forget it, because you gotta learn from it. So if you gotta make an adjustment, you make it.”

Or, maybe it's resilience?

“It seems like we lose a game, we don’t get our heads down. We just get up and get right back at it," Harrison said. "We seem to always bounce back after we take a beating. We took a beating last night, but we came into today focused, and Derek was out there ready to go. He did a great job tonight.”

Actually, the answer is simpler still.

There's a reason why the Rangers can't seem to agree whether or not they know they haven't lost two straight in about two months. And there's a reason they're so good in the game following a loss. It's precisely because they don't talk or think about it. They're a great baseball that doesn't get caught up in feeling pressure, and instead, focuses on looking ahead and making adjustments. It's a combination of everything.

Interestingly enough, however, it's possible this "streak" stays intact with the Rangers losing the World Series in seven games. So instead of avoiding two straight losses, they'll need to string together two straight wins at some point in this series.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 9:05 pm

Holland getting it done through three

By Matt Snyder

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers entered Game 3 with plenty of questions, but most revolved around pitching. After being crushed for 16 runs Saturday night, the bullpen was a bit taxed and the fickle Derek Holland was taking the hill.

So far, so good for the young left-hander.

Holland has worked through three innings, allowing only one hit while striking out three. He's got good velocity on his fastball, but the biggest plus has been his command of breaking pitches. The Cardinals have hit a few balls hard right at Rangers' defenders and the defense has made some sparkling plays, but Holland is doing his job ... so far.

It's only been three innings. You've got to believe Texas needs at least six strong innings from Holland, maybe even more to give the bullpen some rest.

The Rangers hold a 1-0 lead through three innings. But the game is in progress, so ...

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