Derek Holland: 'I definitely matured'

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
2:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- For Derek Holland, the disappointment of losing the World Series overshadowed the exhilaration of his Game 4 gem. But, in the bigger picture, his 8 1/3 shutout innings was another measurable step in the young left-hander's progression as a big-league starter.

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Rangers lefty Derek Holland reminisces on the season past and looks ahead to next year.

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"It obviously meant a lot," Holland said of the start that evened the World Series. "I pitched in a huge game, made a statement when I was out there. At the same time, to me, it’s more about the team, it’s not about myself."

Holland won 16 games during the regular season, tied with C.J. Wilson for the team lead. His 3.95 ERA, which was above 4.00 for much of the season, ranked fourth among the team's five starters. Holland benefited from more run support than any other major-league pitcher. Still, his team-high four complete-game shutouts, even mixed with a handful of perplexing short starts, suggests the 25-year-old is figuring out his stuff and, perhaps more importantly, his head.

His Game 4 of the World Series, after he had struggled in earlier postseason starts, served as confirmation.

"I definitely matured, that’s the big thing," Holland said. "That’s what it all comes down to is I feel like I grew stronger as a pitcher and feel like I did a good job."

Now the question is where Holland fits in the 2012 rotation. That won't be known until the fate of free agent C.J. Wilson is decided and if the Rangers go after an established No. 1 either in free agency or through trade.

Holland's stuff -- an mid-90-mph fastball with good offspeed pitches -- is often talked about as that of a potential ace. But, is he ready to take that step. Even Holland said he couldn't be sure of that, at least not this soon. But, it's clear the quirky, affable youngster is on the road to greater consistency and that can only mean good news for the Rangers.

"I had a roller-coaster season I feel, but I’m not going to let that affect anything," Holland said. "I worked really hard and I continue to battle through the bad times and the good times. I feel like this was a good season for me, but I've got to get ready now for next season."

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182