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The good Derek Holland showed up last night

Jul 15, 2011, 8:55 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v Seattle Mariners Getty Images

Derek Holland pitched his second straight shutout last night, helping the Rangers to a 5-0 win over the Mariners. In fact, it was his third shutout in his last eight starts. He has more shutouts this season than Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, and Clayton Kershaw.

But the man is not consistent.  In between shutout number one and shutout number two he had a stretch of five starts, four of which were pretty bad, one of which was a win, though not a particularly impressive one.  Before that first shutout there were a lot of crooked numbers too. On the year he has a 4.32 ERA and has allowed 125 hits and has walked 42 guys in 118 innings.

I’m fascinated when guys go on runs like this.  Is he as good as he looks when he’s good? Is he as bad as he looks when he’s bad?  Are the recent good performances a sign that something has clicked and we’re about to see a Cliff Lee-style career pivot?  Or are we really seeing the games we’ll point to a couple of years from now when we say “look, he always had potential, but …”

Maybe it’s a less-than-deep thought, but I’m sitting here right now, just marveling over the fact that we’ve been playing organized baseball for for close to 150 years and we still really have no idea about how pitching works. Or at least why some guys put it together and some don’t. At least not until after they’ve either succeeded and failed and we give our post-hoc explanations.

What’s Derek Holland gonna do?  I have no idea. And I think that’s pretty neat.

  1. Phillies Homer - Jul 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    I think if pitchers can’t shut-out the Mariners than they had a bad start.

  2. seanmk - Jul 15, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    the two shut outs were against the A’s and mariners

  3. aaronmoreno - Jul 15, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    I blame the Inverted W.

  4. angrycorgi - Jul 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    If you actually pay attention to him, you’ll see that the kid has good stuff, its just a matter of him becoming consistent mentally/emotionally. He’s 24, so this is about the time he should be figuring things out. If he doesn’t figure things out in the next 3-4 years, he probably never will. If he turns out to be half as good as Verlander or Weaver, then great…considering Holland was a 25th round draft pick and making less than 1/15th what either of those 1st-rounders are making.

    • Detroit Michael - Jul 15, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      At this point in time, Holland’s annual earnings have more to do with his service time than what round he was drafted in or how good he is compared to Verlander or Weaver.

      I agree with your main point that Holland has good raw stuff. He also has a career MLB xFIP of 4.12 versus career ERA of 5.07, so it shouldn’t surprise us that he might lower his ERA and have a decent career.

  5. Richard In Big D - Jul 15, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    In the time he’s been in the majors, it seems that his good performances are pretty consistently becoming a larger portion of his overall performance. Two steps forward, one back. Eventually, that gets you there.

    Also, there’s been a noticeable progression in his demeanor. He seems more confident on the mound, and you can even notice a difference when he speaks to reporters. When he first came up, he seemed like a scared little bunny. He progressed to giddy farm boy in the big city. He’s now starting to come across as a professional with a sense of humor. I think he’ll be fine.

  6. tacklemeelmo - Jul 15, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    He seems confident to me. Late last year I watched him toss a baseball into the stands with his phone number on it to a girl during BP.

    Totally got his number…

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