Derek Holland threw four scoreless innings in the Texas Rangers' 10-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, ending on a high note before leaving this weekend to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Holland's struggles in his first start are now a distant memory, as the left-hander resembled the pitcher who won 12 games last season and posted career bests in strikeout-to-walk ratio and WHIP despite missing a month of the season.
"I had command of all my pitches, I got ahead of hitters for the most part and my defense were making great plays," said Holland, who allowed three hits and struck out two. "Those guys were doing their part and I made sure I did mine."
While Holland has improved in each of his two seasons as a starter, he has also battled with consistency. Some point to his light-hearted nature and desire to have fun and label that as being goofy, but that is only an issue if he isn't pitching well, as opposed to the uneven development path traveled by most young pitchers.
"The consistency part of it is focus," said manager Ron Washington. "I don't want Derek to change who he is because then he will try to be someone else and we won't have Derek Holland. Curtailing the goofiness, that is something for him to determine. I just want Derek Holland and if goofiness comes with it, it comes with it. I've always said I wanted my players to be who they are."
Holland's personality isn't a problem for manager Joe Torre, who selected the Ohio native to represent the United States in the WBC. Holland leaves the team this weekend for the international tournament but only has to travel across town with Team USA, which begins tournament play in nearby Phoenix.