Derek Holland wants to finish off hitters

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
5:40
PM CT
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For the first outing of Cactus League play, Derek Holland's only regret is that he didn't finish off a couple of hitters.

[+] EnlargeDerek Holland
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesThree of the first four hits Derek Holland allowed Friday came on two-strike counts.
Holland gave up six hits, but none of them were particularly hard-hit balls. He got his three innings of work in despite some jittery defense behind him. And he threw all of his pitches, including his changeup.

"I felt good," Holland said. "The main objective was to go out there and execute my pitches. I threw all my pitches for a strike -- ahead in the count and behind in the count. The only thing is I gave up two two-strike hits."

It happened to the first two batters he faced as he got ahead and couldn't finish them off. Three of the first four hits Holland allowed came with two strikes. He actually had a decent opponent average -- .159 -- with two strikes in 2012, but of the 49 hits, 22 of them were extra-base hits. That includes, as ESPN Stats & Information's Mark Simon points out, 14 homers allowed. That was the most two-strike homers allowed in the majors.

Holland has said that he wants to improve on 0-2 counts (he had a .185 opponent average on those in 2012) and finishing hitters off when he's ahead. And he was ahead often Friday, but still gave up the six hits in three innings.

"I want to make the adjustment farther out (of the strike zone)," Holland said. "It was the first time out and I was a little anxious. I got a little too much plate on a couple of guys."

Manager Ron Washington was pleased that Holland, already in the starting rotation, threw a bunch of strikes. He's also not concerned that Holland is having to ramp up ahead of schedule because of the World Baseball Classic.

"This way he won't be behind when he joins us again," Washington said. "I'm not worried. He's going to be ready. It was good for a first day."

Other tidbits from the game:

* Alexi Ogando gave up three runs in 1 1/3 innings with two hits, two walks and a hit batter.

"He couldn't find his release point," Washington said.

Ogando said he was trying to throw more changeups, but none of his pitches were working. He was throwing the ball well in bullpen sessions and he had a good inning in the intrasquad game earlier in the week.

"When you can't find the strike zone, bad things happen," Ogando said.

* Leonys Martin was caught stealing with two outs and Ian Kinsler at the plate. Martin tried to steal on his own. Players are encouraged to go when they think they can make it, but Washington said with a pitcher going with a slide step and a quick delivery, Martin probably shouldn't have gone.

"You have to at least try to go when you think he's going to throw a breaking ball," Washington said. "That wasn't the time. It's the first game. We'll talk about it."
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Yu Darvish
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.97 142 115
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .341
HRA. Beltre 13
RBIA. Beltre 50
RA. Beltre 50
OPSA. Beltre .930
ERAY. Darvish 2.97
SOY. Darvish 142