holland, gallardo

With return of Holland and a hot offense the Rangers are playoff contenders

With Holland’s return and a smoking hot offense the Rangers might just make a postseason run

Derek Holland, starting left-hander for the Texas Rangers, made his first start since being sidelined in April with a shoulder injury. He also missed most of last season after injuring his knee in an accident at home involving his dog. Talk about some bad luck.

Bad luck did not follow Holland on his do-over of 2015’s “Opening Day,” in which he made it through just one inning. Wednesday  Holland went six and one-third innings, allowing eight hits, 2 runs, no walks while striking out six batters. Not too bad for a guy who, when you think about it, has barley pitched in the two years. 

Mike Napoli. Getty Images.
Mike Napoli. Getty Images.

He did have a bit of help from the Rangers’ offense who scored three in the first inning. Holland left the game with his team up 3-2 and they kept the lead for him. In the bottom of the seventh inning the Rangers went back-to-back-to-back against Seattle Mariners’ reliever, Joe Beimel

 To lead off the seventh inning Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch. After Adrian Beltre lined out to right, Mitch Moreland went yard, upping the score to 5 -2.

Next up, Rangers’ returnee Mike Napoli drove the ball deep to center, hitting the 200th home run of his career, to make the score 6-2. Then Elvis Andrus came to the plate and swung at the first pitch he saw from Beimel. He hit the ball far, right into the center field seats ,as the Rangers pulled off a rare back-to-back-to-back home run show. It was just the eighth time in franchise history that the any three Rangers’ players hit three straight home runs. 

Holland, 28, looked like the pitcher of old who went 3-0 in the postseason when the Rangers won their two American League Pennants in 2010-2011. Rangers’ manager Jeff Bannister said that Holland had, 

“Been on a mission since the last time we saw him.”

And Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon was shocked by Holland’s performance after being out of the game for so long.

He came right out of the gate, throwing 92, 93,” McClendon said. “He’s a big-game pitcher. He had his A-game today.”

The Rangers made a little history on Wednesday and Derek Holland returned to the mound, looking and pitching like the Derek Holland we’ve known for years. Add Martin Perez, who is back fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, trade deadline acquisition Cole Hamels and Holland to Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis and it appears to be a completely different and stronger rotation than the one the team had to start the season.

With plenty of time left to play in the 2015 season the Rangers are only four games behind the Houston Astros and a game and a half behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. They sit poised,  just a game and a half back, to swoop in and steal the second Wild Card spot away from the Angels and Baltimore Orioles.

The Rangers have offense, pitching and the ability to make a legitimate run for a playoff spot down the stretch. The Angels and Orioles had better watch their backs.

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