Holland fired a scoreless seventh inning in a loss to the Cubs on Thursday, issuing a walk and recording a strikeout. It was a solid rebound for the 32-year-old, who'd failed to record an out and allowed a two-run home run to Javier Baez two nights prior. Thursday's outing was Holland's third scoreless effort over his last four appearances, a sign he's potentially rounding into form after not having participated in spring training. The right-hander was inked by the Cardinals on Opening Day with the expectation he'd eventually serve as the full-time closer, but Bud Norris has done an admirable job in the role thus far, affording Holland additional time to hit his stride.
Holland allowed two earned runs on a hit and two walks while failing to record an out in a 5-3 win over the Cubs on Tuesday. After seemingly getting on track by generating a pair of scoreless one-inning outings, Holland took a significant step back Tuesday. The 32-year-old right-hander allowed a leadoff walk to Kyle Schwarber before surrendering a 422-foot two-run home run to Javier Baez that closed the Cubs' deficit to 5-3. After issuing another free pass to Addison Russell, Holland got the hook. With fellow veteran Bud Norris currently thriving in his ninth-inning role, manager Mike Matheny can likely afford to continue giving Holland more tune-up work before deploying him in high-leverage, ninth-inning scenarios.
Holland fired a scoreless eighth inning in a 6-1 win over the Reds on Saturday, allowing a hit and recording a strikeout. The veteran closer is being given time to settle in by manager Mike Matheny after a rocky start, and Saturday's game was a fitting example of such. Holland was able to find some success in a low-leverage scenario, wrapping up his one frame in a relatively efficient stint of 17 pitches, 12 of which he threw for strikes. While he's expected to eventually resume a traditional, full-time ninth-inning role, Holland may be deployed in situations similar to Saturday's on a few more occasions to allow him to continue working out the kinks that come from not having been able to partake in spring training.
Holland didn't allow a run in an inning of work Wednesday against the Brewers, though he did walk a batter. St. Louis' closer scared everyone by walking the leadoff man in the ninth inning, but he bounced back by inducing a flyout and an inning-ending double play to face the minimum number of hitters in the inning. The lack of strikeouts in his first two outings is less than ideal, but the improved control (8 of his 13 pitches went for strikes) is a step in the right direction.
Holland (0-1) allowed an earned run on four walks over one-third of an inning in a 5-4 extra-inning loss to the Brewers on Monday. The Cardinals' closer struggled while failing to preserve a 4-4 tie in his team debut, walking both Travis Shaw and Domingo Santana to open his outing and eventually issuing his fourth free pass to Orlando Arcia with the bases loaded. Shaw crossed the plate with what ended up being the winning run, leaving Holland on the hook for the loss. There figures to be much better days ahead for the 32-year-old right-hander, who's racked up more than 40 saves in three of his past four seasons.