Holland’s Gem

Last night in Arlington, Derek Holland threw the game of his life.  With the Rangers down 2-1 in the series, Holland threw 8 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out seven along the way.

He went after the Cardinal hitters with five different pitches: a sinking two-seam fastball that he used as his primary heater yesterday, a straighter four-seam fastball, a tight curve, a slider, and a changeup.  The table below shows the pitch breakdown, along with average pitch speeds, for his 116-pitch masterpiece.

           #     mph
Sinker    40     94.2
Fastball  32     94.7
Slider    24     76.6
Curveball 15     83.9
Changeup  5      85.5

Speaking of pitch speed, Holland was able to throw smoke both early and late.  He took his foot off the pedal a little bit during the middle innings, but kicked it up again once he sensed the finish line:

Returning to pitch selection for a moment: facing a righty-heavy lineup (only six of Holland’s pitches were against lefties), Holland only used a handful of changeups and instead relied on his slider as his primary strikeout pitch.

“Behind” is for 3-0, 3-1, and 2-0 counts.

Of the 19 balls put in play against Holland on Sunday night, 13 of them were on the ground.  7 of those grounders were courtesy of his two-seam fastball, which yielded a total of 10 outs on the night.  Holland also garnered nine swinging strikes in his start: one apiece on his two-seamer and four-seamer, two on his slider, and five on his curve.

Holland’s performance produced a Game Score of 84, the highest mark in any World Series game since Josh Beckett also had an 84 in his Game 6 win against the Yankees in 2003.  On a day where the Rangers desperately needed a win, they got a huge performance from one of their underperforming starters.

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21 Responses to “Holland’s Gem”

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  1. Edwin says:

    I thought that sliders and sinkers typically have a bad platoon split against opposite handed batters. I’ve heard that lefty pitchers have less of a platoon split with their pitches, but even still, it seems like a strange pitch selection strategy to go with. I’m just curious why his slider and sinker were so effective.

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  2. CircleChange11 says:

    At least there wasn’t the word “Opus” in the title. As a Cardinal fan, that’s the only positive I can take from this.

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    • gnomez says:

      That… that was horrific to watch as a Cardinals fan. If Jackson had been better, so we had a true pitchers’ duel like Game 5 of the NLDS, it would have been a great game anyway. But that… all I can do is thank Berkman for keeping it from being a true nightmare.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Yea that reference might as well have been placed on a tee, and Lucas MISSED it. Can’t hit ‘em all, right.

      I kid of course. I like these types of quick summaries.

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  3. cpebbles says:

    The very generous strike zone helped a bit. It also makes Edwin Jackson’s equally incredible line even more amazing.

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  4. Jeffrey says:

    I didn’t know Beckett pitched against the Yankees in 03 in the WS

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      Well, now you do. It was Game 6. Beckett was FLA not BOS if that’s why you’re being sarcastic.

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    • Bill says:

      Yes. He was the ace of the Florida Marlins. They are a National League team. The National League, or the “senior circuit” plays the American League, or the “junior circuit” in a series each October and sometimes November in which the winner is crowned the “World Champion”, despite the complete lack of participation by teams from other countries. They have been doing this since 1903. The president in 1903 was Theodore Roosevelt. You may remember him as the hero of San Juan Hill. This was a battle fought in the Spanish American war. This war started because someone blew up The Maine whilst it was harbored in Havana. Havana is in Cuba, which coincidentally is where Livan Hernandez is from. He also pitched for Florida in the World Series.

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  5. William says:

    Freese said facing Holland last night was like facing Jonny Venters for 8 innings. Yikes.

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  6. barkey Walker says:

    “He took his foot off the pedal a little bit during the middle innings, but kicked it up again once he sensed the finish line.” I don’t see either of those trends. Is there some other way to plot it to show that?

    Also, he threw 110 fast balls last night? (x-axis of graph).

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  7. Pguim says:

    You guys have holland’s sliders and curveballs backwards. His curve goes 76 and he threw that more than his slider. They may both be curve balls one more of a power curve. But the 76 mph breaking ball is definitely a curve. And stop complaining about a strike zone when Jackson hit his spots he got strikes too, he walked seven because he was wild. Try to hit the glove and youll get a borderline pitch

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  8. cpebbles says:

    When exactly did Edwin Jackson hit his spot to get a strike call? Read again. The strike zone _was_ wide. Jackson was just so ridiculously wild that only one team benefited.

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    • J Walter Weatherman says:

      Just ignore Mike Fast’s reply to your initial comment. I’m sure you know more than him

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      • cpebbles says:

        I ignored it because I looked at the Pitch F/X data last night and it supported the argument that the strike zone was unreasonable. There is a pitch nearly 6 inches off the plate that was a called strike.

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  9. joser says:

    Just a shame he couldn’t have closed out the complete game shutout. Always nifty to see something that hasn’t happened in a generation.

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  10. CircleChange11 says:

    Yeah well, Holland has a horrible moustache. So there.

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