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05/04/2013

Derek Holland can be a 20 game winner

PSxN6.St.58ARLINGTON, Texas - While the entire baseball world throws roses, panties and cash at Texas Rangers right hander Yu Darvish, there is another pitcher on this team worth a look.

I have been leading the charge for this guy since before he threw that great game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 World Series. It's the delivery I am enamored with. It's easy and smooth without too much stress. This should help Derek Holland pitch for forever.

"That's the plan," he said. "That would be nice."

There has always been the tiny matter of just, you know, putting it together. Right now he is, which makes the absense of Bad Back Matt Harrison doable.

"The numbers aren't all the way I want them," Holland told me one day before he defeated the Red Sox.

No, Holland is not 5-1 like Darvish is. But the ERA is not too far from Darvish's 2.33. 

In the Rangers' blowout win against the Red Sox in Arlington on Friday night, Holland was dominant. He allowed no runs on six hits in 8 innings with one walk and nine strikeouts.

Holland is now 2-2 with a 2.74 ERA in six starts this season. He has allowed 30 hits in 42.2 innings with 10 walks and 37 strikeouts. If this keeps up he could have an 18 to 20 win season.

"The walks is the one where I want to be better," Holland said. "There is such a thing as a good walk. If it's a 13-pitch at bat and he gets a walk you do tip your cap. Or you are trying to pitch around a guy. Like against (the Angels in the home opener), I was trying to pitch around Albert Pujols to get to Josh Hamilton. That's a good walk. It's the other ones I need to get rid of."

Of his six starts this season, Holland has had one real dog - at LAA on April 22 when he allowed six runs in 5.2 innings; he allowed four walks that game.

In every other start his walk numbers have been modest and insignificant, and he has been effective. He deserves a better won/loss record.

At 26 and in his fifth big league season, this should be about the time it comes together for Holland. He does not have Yu's celebrity ace stuff, but Holland has 20-win potential.

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