Rangers lefty has second consecutive quality start in win over Tribe
By Ryan Posner
ARLINGTON -- Derek Holland has made two starts after missing more than two months with left shoulder inflammation. Since his return he has stressed that his biggest concern is staying consistent over the final stretch of the season.
Through two starts, Holland's consistency has been impeccable. He fired his second straight start of six innings with one run allowed in the Rangers' 2-1 victory over the Indians Sunday afternoon to win the four-game series over the American League Central leaders.
"I'm not going to get too caught up in that kind of stuff," Holland said. "It's good to live in the moment, but I got to worry about staying consistent, focusing on what I'm doing and keep going there and giving the team a chance to win."
Jake Diekman and Matt Bush followed Holland with scoreless innings, leading up to Sam Dyson, who escaped a bases-loaded jam to pick up his 29th save of the year. Manager Jeff Banister's assessment of Holland's success of late was simple.
"When Derek throws strikes, Derek has success," Banister said. "He had a great mix today."
Holland threw 74 percent of his pitches for strikes Sunday. In his first start against the Reds on Tuesday, he was at 73 percent. Holland said he didn't use his changeup against the Indians, but he was still able to keep them off balance with his curveball.
"That's a pretty good lineup and a pretty good fastball-hitting team," said catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who drove in a run with a single in the fourth. "We tried to mix [the curveball] in and keep them off the fastball the best we could. … He did a good job at it for sure. [He] only made a few mistakes, really."
Right after Holland went on the disabled list, he identified an issue in his delivery that he believed was causing some of the pain in his left shoulder. He's since adjusted.
"I'm just staying back longer, keeping things where they need to be," Holland said. "The main thing is I'm more comfortable with it and I'm more happy with it. We just got to continue to keep plugging away with it and things will fall into place."
Banister stuck with Holland with two out and runners on first and second in the sixth with Indians designated hitter Mike Napoli -- who's homered twice off Holland in his career -- at the plate. Holland got Napoli to line out to deep left field to end the inning -- and his outing -- and keep the 2-1 lead.
"It was essentially just based off the previous sequence of pitches and the at-bats," said Banister on leaving Holland in the game with Diekman warming up. "We felt like he was still in command of his pitches and he's a veteran guy who knows what he's doing. He's been in that type of battle before."
Napoli's liner brought left fielder Carlos Gomez to the warning track and he was able to grab it with a last-second leap. It was one of two standout defensive plays in the game by Gomez, who took away extra bases from Jose Ramirez in the fifth with a leaping catch up against the left-field wall.
"To me, that's what it's all about," Holland said. "It was an all-around team game right there. I made my pitches and when you're working as fast as I was, I felt like I kept the defense on their toes. Gomez is a [heck] of an outfielder. He made two sweet catches out there for me."
Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.