Holland staying course despite lower velocity

Holland staying course despite lower velocity

CLEVELAND -- Royals closer Greg Holland knows his velocity is down. He was hitting 95-96 mph just a few weeks ago, but in his last three outings, he has topped out at 93.

It doesn't bother Holland in the least.

"If you're thinking about that stuff, you're bound to fail," Holland said. "I don't let that dictate what I do. My job is to get three outs before they tie the game. I've done a pretty good job of it.

"They pay me a lot of money to do it."

Royals manager Ned Yost said before Wednesday night's game that he is not about to switch closers as of now, for the obvious reason: "He's getting the job done."

Since blowing a save on Aug. 13 against the Angels, Holland was 6-of-6 in save opportunities over nine appearances prior to Wednesday. In that span, he struck out nine in 8 1/3 innings with a 2.16 ERA. Opponents hit just .226 off him with an overall OPS of .584.

"I don't let the way I go about my business be dictated by my velocity," Holland said. "If I can pitch, I can pitch ... hitters will let you know if you're not fast enough."

Holland said he can't explain why his velocity would have dipped. He reports he is healthy, save for some general soreness he goes through each year this time of the season.

"No one is 100 percent healthy this time of year," Holland said. "But I'm in a spot where I know I can get guys out."

Holland also said he isn't sure if he'll hit 95 or 96 mph again this season.

"I have no idea and I don't think about it," he said. "The harder you throw means you can make more mistakes. But it doesn't mean you're going to get everyone out. I've given up plenty of runs throwing 97 in my career so I'm really not too concerned about velocity."

Would getting more consistent work build up his arm strength again?

"I don't know about that," he said. "I always feel a little more consistent when I work more. But it's a fine line between that and getting rest. I may have to throw 12 games in October. You want to be as fresh as you can for that. That's all that matters right now."

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.