Texas Rangers: Sean Rodriguez

Bad location dooms Derek Holland

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
12:13
AM CT



ARLINGTON, Texas -- After a solid start to the season, Derek Holland picked up losses in two straight starts for the first time since August of 2010.

Holland had trouble locating his fastball at times, giving up five runs on nine hits in seven innings of work in a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The lefty said it's a little too early to push the panic button.

"It's not like I'm out there trying to walk people or throw around people," Holland said. "I'm throwing strikes and going after them, so I'm not going to change anything."

In the two losses, Holland was also going up against two of the best American League lineups in the Rays and Yankees.

"The main thing is just to continue grinding," Holland said. "You're going to have days like today. I thought I was going to have everything working for me. I just got too much plate. That's the only bad part."

While his fastball was off, he was in better command of his secondary pitches. It might be a little comforting to manager Ron Washington and the Rangers that he struck out eight batters in seven innings Sunday night. He had just one strikeout in six innings against the Yankees.

Holland stressed that he and catcher Yorvit Torrealba worked in sync on what he wanted to throw -- he said he was just missing the spots.

"Everything was working on the same page with what we want to throw," Holland said. "It was just location that kind of hurt me, and we'll continue grinding through it and not worry too much about it."

Holland pitched a perfect first inning but unraveled in the second. Jeff Keppinger had an RBI single after Ben Zobrist's leadoff triple. B.J. Upton and Luke Scott followed with back-to-back doubles. Sean Rodriguez added a sacrifice fly to put the Rays up 3-1 before Holland retired the next two batters.

Holland gave up another run in the third on an RBI double by Zobrist.

With long reliever Scott Feldman getting loose in the bullpen, Holland decided he wasn't done by striking out the side in the fourth inning, then getting out of the next two innings unscathed. He gave up another run in the seventh on a Desmond Jennings RBI triple.

Holland said he still feels like there aren't a lot of adjustments to make to get back to his winning ways.

"I don't really feel like too much is wrong," Holland said. "I threw all my pitches for strikes, so I'm not concerned with that. It's obviously just the location of getting the ball where it needed to be."

Washington didn't seem to concerned about it, either.

"In that second inning, he misplaced some fastballs," Washington said. "He got a grip on that, and had great secondary stuff. He left some fastballs up and they hit them."

Holland's next scheduled start is May 5 at Cleveland against veteran Derek Lowe.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon is sticking with his right-handed batting order against Texas Rangers left-handed ace Cliff Lee for tonight's Game 5. With one exception: Lefty Dan Johnson stays in the lineup instead of switch-hitting Willy Aybar.

Here's the Rays lineup:

SS Jason Bartlett
RF Ben Zobrist (S)
LF Carl Crawford (L)
3B Evan Longoria
1B Carlos Pena (L)
CF B.J. Upton
DH Dan Johnson (L)
C Kelly Shoppach
2B Sean Rodriguez
P David Price

The lineup was tweaked slightly in terms of the order Lee faces. Zobrist hit seventh in Game 1. Johnson did pinch hit, but he faced Darren Oliver and not Lee.

Click here to see how the Rays' lineup compares to the Rangers' starters.

Against Lee, how will Maddon tweak lineup?

October, 12, 2010
10/12/10
11:15
AM CT
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Texas Rangers have Cliff Lee on the mound for tonight's decisive Game 5 and that means Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon has decisions to make regarding his lineup and batting order.

Does he go back to the right-handed-heavy lineup that produced one run and eight hits combined in Games 1 and 2 against Lee and C.J. Wilson? Or does he stick with some of his lefty bats that heated up in Arlington and racked up 11 runs and 23 hits against Rangers righties Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter?

Maddon used six left-handed hitters in Game 3 and seven in Game 4.

"I'm debating a couple little things quite frankly, but more than likely you're going to see a very similar lineup for us vs. a left-handed pitcher," Maddon said Monday afternoon. "I do have a lot of confidence in this group. Our record against left-handed pitching has actually been very good this year."

Just not of late, losing five in a row against southpaws. Although, the Rays take stock in having beaten Lee in all three regular-season matchups as well as having ace David Price throwing in an redemption effort against a Rangers lineup that has hit the skids.

Maddon has changed his batting order in each of the first four games. He practically made wholesale flip-flops against the Rangers' lefties and righties, strategies he's employed throughout the year, such as inserting lefties in rookie left-handed catcher John Jaso, right fielder Matt Joyce and designated hitter Dan Johnson, and even going with shortstop Reid Brignac in Game 4.

Maddon has also made key changes in the order. He dropped the struggling duo of B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena to the bottom in Game 3 to sort of create two hearts of the lineup with Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria at the top of the lineup. Pena returned to the five-hole in Game 4, while Upton stayed down. The moves paid off. Upton got key hits in Game 3 and 4 and Pena heated up.

Now the question is where will Maddon go now? We know Rocco Baldelli won't be in the lineup as the DH as he surprisingly was in Game 1. He is no longer on the playoff roster. Switch-hitter Willy Aybar will likely (1-for-5 in series) get the nod. Maddon also assured that the lefty slugger Pena will play. The usual five-hole hitter sat in Game 2 against Wilson after going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Lee in the opener.

Catcher and Fort Worth-product Kelly Shoppach (0-for-6 in series) could be back in the lineup as well as second baseman Sean Rodriguez (1-for-7).

"Joe has a ton of versatility over there and he's used his lineup the way he's used it against us all year, so I don't see anything different in what he's doing," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It's just that his left-handers have been giving him some very good at-bats, and those guys do that. But he has a ton of versatility over there. He can mix and match and it doesn't really matter, and he can set that lineup where it doesn't matter what you do, they can handle it, even if they leave a lefty on our lefty."

ALDS player cards for Rangers, Rays

October, 5, 2010
10/05/10
11:27
AM CT
We've got a closer look at the key players for the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays with our old school player cards. Get a quick look at each player and what to expect in the ALDS.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.341 13 50 50
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 13
RBIA. Beltre 50
RA. Beltre 50
OPSA. Beltre .930
WY. Darvish 8
ERAY. Darvish 2.97
SOY. Darvish 142