Holland earns redemption with his 26th save

Royals' closer bounces back after meltdown in opener vs. Angels

Holland earns redemption with his 26th save

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals may go back to using closer Greg Holland more regularly in an attempt to keep his command sharp.

Holland proved that the theory of more work equals better results just might work. Holland came back in for the ninth inning on Friday night and struck out the side in a 4-1 win over the Angels. He didn't get anyone out the night before.

"It's a fine line between getting used enough and not getting overworked," Holland said. "That's their decision. I'll be ready to go when the phone rings [in the bullpen]. In the perfect world, you'd pitch every other day or every third day, but that's not how baseball works."

On Thursday night, Holland, who hadn't pitched in four days, gave up four runs and blew a save in the Royals' 7-6 loss to the Angels.

Shaky command after layoffs has become a trend with Holland. This season when Holland pitches with three days' rest or fewer, he has a 1.65 ERA. When he pitches with four days of rest or more, Holland's ERA is 13.65.

"We'll just have to pitch him every three days if we can," manager Ned Yost said before Friday's win. "It's tough on the road, but it's easier at home."

But Holland admits he was eager to get back on the mound on Friday. He told pitching coach Dave Eiland just that.

"As a competitor and you get beat pretty bad," Holland said, "you want to get back out there as quickly as you can."

"It's kind of a like a starter -- if you have a six-man rotation, they are just not as sharp because of the extra day," Yost said.

Over his career, Holland has a 2.22 ERA when pitching on three days' rest or fewer. When it's four or more days of rest, he has a 3.60 ERA.

"They all do [better with consistent work]," Yost said.

The problem is implementing a plan for Holland.

"I knew he had to pitch yesterday no matter what because he had gone four days [without pitching]," Yost said. "But it's tough because you put him in a [non-save] game and then, boom, you need him the next three days.

"It's a juggling act we're doing. We'll have to find a way."

Without regular work, Holland tends to leave too many hittable pitches over the plate.

"He was down in the zone tonight," Yost said. "He was down in the zone all night long. The first strikeout was on pitches down in the zone. [The second strikeout] was a pitch down in the zone and the same thing with [the third]. All three strikeouts were pitches that were down in the zone."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.