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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Derek Holland: Matt Harrison the blueprint

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Holland watched Matt Harrison have a breakout season in 2012 and wants to follow his lead.

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Holland didn't have the 2012 season he wanted after going 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 2011. That season ended with a terrific start in Game 4 of the World Series. But Holland wasn't able to carry it over. He was 12-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 175 1/3 innings. He had 145 strikeouts and 52 walks. Holland never got into a consistent stretch and ended up dealing with left shoulder fatigue and missed a month.

Harrison followed his 2011 season up with an even better 2012, going 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA in 213 1/3 innings. Holland said he wants to do what Harrison did last season.

“Harry did a great job for us. I don’t think he got enough credit," Holland said on Tuesday while helping the club with its Cowboy Santas Toy Drive at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "He was the most consistent pitcher and accomplished a lot for us. I’m using a lot of what he did as motivation."

Holland talked about working with pitching coach Mike Maddux this offseason on finding more consistency, particularly on locating his pitches. That was something he talked to Rangers CEO and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. (We talked about that on the blog earlier this offseason and you can read that here.)

Holland said he isn't concerned about his home runs -- he allowed 32 last season, 10 more than 2011. His bigger concern is making sure guys aren't on base when they occur and bouncing back to limit damage.

His focus: Find the strike zone, work different sides of the plate and stay in games longer.