The slew of injuries suffered by the Texas Rangers the last couple of seasons is well documented, and those woes continue for starting pitcher Derek Holland.
Injured in early April, Holland has pitched a total of one inning in the majors this year – that’s it. Couple this fact with the injury sustained by staff ace Yu Darvish, and one shouldn’t be surprised that Texas general manager Jon Daniels pulled the trigger on pitcher Cole Hamels to begin August.
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Despite the issues surrounding the pitching staff, the Rangers moved to within six games of American League West leader Houston on Tuesday night with a 4-3 victory over the Astros in Arlington. A sweep over Texas’ in-state rival would put the Rangers within striking distance of the division and keep them in the thick of things in the AL wild card race.
While the Hamels trade was just as much about the present as it was the future, a fair question is whether or not Holland will be able to make any contribution to the Rangers this season.
This looking more and more unlikely, although there’s still some time.
Holland will remain with Triple-A Round Rock for at least four more starts. Even in a best-case scenario, this would put Holland back on the mound with the Rangers near the beginning of September, or after. The final game of the regular season takes place October 4 at the conclusion of what should be a critical four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at home.
According to Gerry Fraley of Dallas Morning News, Holland’s two rehab assignments have been something far from spectacular.
Holland has given up a total of four runs in just 3 2/3 innings. He’s allowed nine baserunners during that brief stretch and needed a staggering 55 pitches in just a couple of innings against Memphis (St. Louis system) while the Texas bullpen pitched a goose-egg against the Astros.
Yeah, you could say that.
Holland’s injury isn’t something that he can’t rebound from – at least this seems to be the prevailing opinion.
However, given the time remaining on the season, as well as the importance of the upcoming stretch run, Holland has a real corner to turn if he’s going to help Texas return to the playoffs following last season’s 95-loss effort that inspired former manager Ron Washington to just quit.
New manager Jeff Banister seems to have the Rangers fighting, regardless of the circumstances. Otherwise, this club could have easily folded the tent already, especially given the ups and downs this team has faced all year. I mean, Dallas Cowboys training camp has already begun, yet Texas is still winning games.
It’s never good when your ace goes down before anything really happens, baseball-wise, and it’s even worse when another reliable arm goes down for most of the season once baseball barely gets going.
Holland is one of thew few guys left in the Texas clubhouse that remembers trips to the World Series in 2010 and 2011. In the long run, he doesn’t seem like a guy that’s going anywhere. But in the short-term, it would be a huge step forward if Holland could return in time to help Texas make a serious push for its first AL West crown since 2011.
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