Tag:Derek Holland
Posted on: October 4, 2011 6:04 pm
 

Rangers looking like anything but one-hit wonders


Here's the thing about the Texas Rangers as the champagne sprayed Tuesday in Tampa Bay: Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli, the Rangers early stars this October, were elsewhere when Texas made its first foray to a World Series last October.

And as the Rangers move on and prepare to meet either the Detroit Tigers or the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series, those two are just the latest examples of Texas' power both on the field and off.

Lots of people assumed the Rangers were done last winter when they couldn't retain Cliff Lee. But general manager Jon Daniels and his staff were creative enough to fill in the cracks of a very good core and the Rangers so far haven't missed a beat.

I don't know whether C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and the rest will provide enough pitching to slip past the Yankees or the Tigers and push the Rangers to their second consecutive World Series.

But I do know that under club president Nolan Ryan, Daniels and beyond, the Rangers never for a moment spent one time feeling sorry for themselves losing to San Francisco last fall. They never for a moment wasted time looking in the rear view mirror.

"The reality is, there are a lot of teams that have gotten there once," Daniels told me in March as the Rangers limbered up in Arizona. "That doesn't take anything away from it, but that's not our goal.

"First of all, we want to win it. And second of all, we don't want to be a one-hit wonder. And we need to prove that."

As the Rangers climb the charts again in 2011, they look far more long-term than one-hit wonder.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:36 pm
 

Holland off, but Rangers bats not

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- This had all of the earmarks of a Texas disaster.

Starter Derek Holland fought his command from the start, laboring through a 29-pitch first inning. He was lucky to hold Tampa Bay to one run.

Then he surrendered a two-run home run to Matt Joyce in the fourth, and it got real quiet real fast at The Ballpark in Arlington.

Then, what raw rookie Matt Moore did for Tampa Bay on Friday became even more impressive: Texas hammered James Shields for five runs in the fourth and never looked back, pounding its way to an 8-6 win. And in evening this Division Series at 1-1, the Rangers served notice of why they're so lethal.

Did Moore really shut out this crew for seven innings in Game 1?

Did anybody really think the Rangers were going to stay silent in this thing?

The Rangers love Holland, and with good reason. Just 24, he mixes a low-90s fastball with a curve that dips into the low 70s and a slider somewhere in-between, Holland finished the regular season by going 10-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his final 15 starts beginning July 7.

What Holland did Saturday on a day on which he wasn't sharp was keep the Rangers close.

Then the Texas lineup did the rest, from Mike Napoli's two-run, game-tying single in the fourth to Ian Kinsler's two-run double in the sixth to Mitch Moreland's exclamation point of a home run in the eighth.

By the end, believe it or not, Texas had won its first home game in Division Series history. Before Saturday, the Rangers were 0-7. They were 0-1 in this series.

No more.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:36 pm
 

Holland off, but Rangers bats not

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- This had all of the earmarks of a Texas disaster.

Starter Derek Holland fought his command from the start, laboring through a 29-pitch first inning. He was lucky to hold Tampa Bay to one run.

Then he surrendered a two-run home run to Matt Joyce in the fourth, and it got real quiet real fast at The Ballpark in Arlington.

Then, what raw rookie Matt Moore did for Tampa Bay on Friday became even more impressive: Texas hammered James Shields for five runs in the fourth and never looked back, pounding its way to an 8-6 win. And in evening this Division Series at 1-1, the Rangers served notice of why they're so lethal.

Did Moore really shut out this crew for seven innings in Game 1?

Did anybody really think the Rangers were going to stay silent in this thing?

The Rangers love Holland, and with good reason. Just 24, he mixes a low-90s fastball with a curve that dips into the low 70s and a slider somewhere in-between, Holland finished the regular season by going 10-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his final 15 starts beginning July 7.

What Holland did Saturday on a day on which he wasn't sharp was keep the Rangers close.

Then the Texas lineup did the rest, from Mike Napoli's two-run, game-tying single in the fourth to Ian Kinsler's two-run double in the sixth to Mitch Moreland's exclamation point of a home run in the eighth.

By the end, believe it or not, Texas had won its first home game in Division Series history. Before Saturday, the Rangers were 0-7. They were 0-1 in this series.

No more.
Posted on: July 30, 2009 11:42 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 2:37 am
 

Rangers talking Halladay with Jays

The Texas Rangers, financially strapped but loaded with prospects, were pursuing Toronto ace Roy Halladay on Thursday night as one of their brightest young pitchers, Derek Holland, showed the world what the next generation of Rangers could produce in throwing a gem against the Seattle Mariners.

The Rangers are serious about their pursuit of Halladay, according to a source with knowledge of the team's thinking. But, the source added, the club does not intend to dip too deeply into its carefully rebuilt farm system and will move on if Toronto insists on what the Rangers deem as too much.

A successful last-minute Rangers strike for Halladay seems highly unlikely based on the organization's shaky financial standing and on the fact that the Rangers have had a firm philosophy in place for the past couple of seasons to build from within -- and that philosophy now appears tantalizingly close to paying off big.

The publication Baseball America rated the Rangers No. 1 in the game in its 2009 organizational talent rankings. Holland, a left-hander in just his second full professional season, was sensational in allowing only two hits over 8 2/3 innings in Texas' 7-1 win over Seattle on Thursday night.

Holland was ranked as the organization's second-best prospect for 2009 by Baseball America. Another pitcher, right-hander Neftali Perez, was first. Lefty Martin Perez was No. 5 and right-hander Michael Main was No. 10.

Under club president and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, the Rangers are determined to develop power pitchers who throw strikes.

But under owner Tom Hicks, the Rangers are in such bad shape financially that they had to seek a loan from major-league baseball to meet payroll last month. While they maybe could re-arrange some things for 2010 to fit Halladay's $15.75 million salary into their budget -- for one thing, they could forego re-signing free agents Hank Blalock, Vicente Padilla and Marlon Byrd.

But as for the approximately $4.75 million due to Halladay this year, that could be a problem. And unless the Blue Jays change their mind, general manager J.P. Ricciardi told colleague Danny Knobler on July 12 that the Jays would not kick in any money to pay part of Halladay's salary.

"We don't want to hear that somebody's not available, and we don't want to hear that they can't handle the money," Ricciardi said.

The Jays surely could find plenty to their liking in Texas' rich system in a deal for Halladay. So, too could other organizations in other trade discussions: The Rangers have been a very popular stop along the trade-talk circuit because of their wealth of young talent.

 

Posted on: July 8, 2009 1:36 am
 

Feldman shines as Rangers get -- gasp -- pitching

There was a point where the Rangers' season could have turned left instead of right, back when they were 7-9 and Josh Hamilton was just three days away from pulling the muscle in his side that sent him to the DL for the first time this season.

Many believe the turning point came the night of April 25 in Baltimore, when Scott Feldman stepped into the rotation for the first time.

Slated to bullpen duty early, Feldman that night limited the Orioles to one run in five innings during Texas' 6-5 victory. Over the next five weeks, the Rangers went 23-10 and built a season-high 5 1/2-game lead in the AL West.

That cushion became especially important because the Rangers, ever pitching-challenged, currently have two starting pitchers (Brandon McCarthy and Matt Harrison) and one key reliever (Joaquin Benoit) on the disabled list. They also lost starter Vicente Padilla and reliever Frank Francisco to the DL earlier this year -- Francisco twice.

As for the currently sidelined starters, neither McCarthy nor Harrison is expected back before late July.

So a group of young Rangers pitchers, including Feldman, Tommy Hunter and Derek Holland, is being pushed a little harder than planned.

Feldman in particular has been outstanding. Not only is he 7-2 with a 3.91 ERA over 17 games -- 14 starts -- but he's holding opponents to a .230 batting average.

"He's done a great job," All-Star third baseman Michael Young says. "He competes. He gets after it. He pounds the strike zone. He makes big pitches in big situations.

"When you have pitching and defense, it's a lot of fun."

Texas pitchers had compiled a 3.50 ERA over 22 games into Tuesday night's since June 11, fourth-lowest in the AL during that span. Meantime, largely behind Frank Francisco and C.J. Wilson, the bullpen's 79.3 percent saves conversion rate (23 saves in 29 opportunities) was the best in the AL and second-best in the majors this season.

In what could be a preview of coming attractions over the next few seasons for the Rangers, in sweeping Tampa Bay over the weekend, each of the three victories was obtained by a Rangers draft pick: Hunter (a supplemental first-round pick in 2007), Holland (25th round in 2006) and Feldman (30th round 2003).

The last time Texas has seen its own draft picks obtain victories over three consecutive starts? Back in 1997, when Darren Oliver (third round in 1988) beat Oakland and Bobby Witt (first round in 1985) and Rick Helling (first round in 1992) beat the Angels.

Likes: Elvis Andrus at shortstop in Texas. Slick. ... Roy Halladay in Toronto. I hope the Blue Jays don't trade him. He belongs in Toronto, and Blue Jays fans deserve a Halladay-led winner. ... Our Fourth of July cul-de--sac barbecue over the weekend. ... Beautiful Puget Sound. ... The All-Star Game in St. Louis. Yeah, it'll be muggy, but the baseball will be great and the atmosphere will match. ... Johnny Depp on David Letterman a couple of weeks ago (just caught up to it on TiVo).

Dislikes: Coverage of Michael Jackson's Memorial Service on Tuesday. Sad story, yes. But give me a break. The guy wasn't a saint, and the fawning media completely glossed over the little matter of that $20 million settlement regarding the boy he was accused of molesting.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Your mind's a machine
"It's deadly and dull
"It's never been still and its will
"Has never been free"

-- Wilco, Less Than You Think

 
 
 
 
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