Derek Holland doesn’t have to look very far back into his memory bank to remember what it’s like to have success in the postseason as a starter.
Holland’s last postseason start came in Game 4 of the 2011 World Series, when he pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings in arguably the greatest postseason pitching performance in franchise history.
He’d like to add another chapter to that Monday when he gets the call for the Rangers in Game 4 of the American League Division Series against Toronto.
“That’s kind of the main thing,” said Holland. “It just shows no matter what the situation is I can pitch in the big games as well. I pitched in Game 4 of the World Series. I just have to prepare myself for now. Toronto’s a really good ballclub with a really good offense. I’ve got to do my job and mix it up for them.”
In his last start of the regular season on Oct. 1, Holland struck out six and allowed three earned runs in his 6 1/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angeles. That outing got him back on track after a four-start stretch in which he was 0-2 with an 8.59 ERA.
“Confidence has always got to be there,” Holland said. “As players we go through slumps and everything, it’s just how you get out of them. I’ve overcome that. I’ve moved past that. I showed that in the last start I had and now I’ve got another situation to go out there and take care of what I need to do.”
The Rangers opted to start Holland over veteran Colby Lewis, who like Holland has had his share of postseason success.
“Derek has been a key pitcher for us,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “I felt like Derek is ready for this stage, for this game. It’s nothing he hasn’t done before. He’s been in these type of games and has shown up very well in the past. We expect Derek to come out and throw a quality baseball game for us.”
For his postseason career Holland is 3-0 with a 3.79 ERA in 13 appearances.
While Monday will be his first appearance in the series, he did warm up late in Game 2 of Friday’s 14-inning win. Now he has a chance to pitch the Rangers into the American League Championship Series.
“I’m always going to be excited to go out there any time,” Holland said. “These are big games for us. Toronto’s not giving up. They’re trying to keep this thing alive and I’ve got to go out there and do my job, execute pitches and make it hard for these guys.”