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Entries in Derek Holland (7)


July Stats from the Bill Chuck Files

In honor of the July 8 game in which the Mets beat the Giants 4-3 in 16 innings, the longest game in July, here are 16 stats for your dining consumption. 

  1. Tim Lincecum and Stephen Strasburg led the majors whiffing 44 in July but each were 1-3 on the month.
  2. The AL hit 380 homers, the NL hit 312 in July.
  3. Lucas Harrell walked 20 batters in 20.1 July IP.
  4. The Yankees hit 10 homers in July, the fewest in the AL. It was the Yanks fewest July homers since they hit eight in 1919.
  5. Greg Holland led the majors with 11 saves in July.
  6. There were 24 complete games in July with 12 in each league, seven by the Rays.
  7. In 13 scoreless innings in July, Tyler Clippard allowed two hits and held opponents to a .049 BAA.
  8. Blue Jays pitchers allowed 37 homers in July, the Marlins gave up just 11.
  9. Hiroki Kuroda made five starts in July. In 33 IP he allowed two runs (0.55 ERA).
  10. In July, with runners in scoring position, from the 7th inning on, the Braves hit .373, the Orioles hit .078.
  11. Before he was traded, Ian Kennedy threw 194 pitches for Arizona in July, the most in baseball.
  12. The Red Sox were hit by 15 pitches in July, the most in the majors.
  13. Derek Holland’s 30 swing and misses were the most in baseball in July.
  14. The Brewers led the majors with 35 steals in July; the Orioles had only two steals.
  15. Jerome Williams allowed 29 runs the most in July, he was followed by Josh Johnson and CC Sabathia with 27.
  16. In July, Adrian Beltre hit .516 (16-31) from the 7th inning on.



The 2013 Season of Travail for Team USA Pitchers

As I watched R.A. Dickey and Vinnie Pestano get pummeled on Saturday, I could not help but think of the WBC, because both pitched for Team USA.

Look, I am not going to pretend: I don't like the World Baseball Classic. While I think it is good for building up international baseball, it comes at cost, particularly for pitchers who have to alter their training routines to pitch competitively too early in the spring.

Now that we are at the quarter-pole in the season, it is fair to look at the pitchers who participated for Team USA and see how they are doing.

One spoiler alert, while there are some success stories this season, none of the pitchers are doing better as a result of their participation.

The staff

Jeremy Affeldt appeared in three games in the WBC pitching 3.1 innings. Affeldt has appeared in 18 games this season for the Giants, pitching 15.1 innings and while he has a strong 1-1 record and 2.35 ERA, he has walked eight and has a very high rate of 4.7 walks per nine innings.

Heath Bell pitched two innings in two games for Team USA and is 2-0 for Arizona this season, but has a high 4.05 ERA and very high 1.400 WHIP in his 20 IP.

Mitchell Boggs threw 1.1 innings in his two WBC appearances, but has been brutal for the Cardinals this season going 0-2 with a 10.43 ERA and a 2.318 WHIP. He was ineffective as well when he was sent down to Memphis to work on his mechanics. Between the minors and the majors, Boggs has walked 19 in 20 IP.

Ross Detwiler threw four innings in one game for Team USA and is 2-4 with a 2.76 ERA, but he's been injured since he strained his oblique May 15. The Nationals held off on placing him on the DL until Sunday (May 26).

Ryan Vogelsong threw 9.2 innings in two games for Team USA. Before he went on on the DL for the Giants after fracturing his right hand, Vogelsong was struggling for the Giants with a 2-4 record and an abysmal 7.19 ERA and 1.727 WHIP.

Steve Cishek appeared in four WBC games and threw 2.1 innings. For the Marlins this season he's appeared in 20 games throwing 20.1 innings. He has a 1-4 record, 4.87 ERA, 1.475 WHIP, and while he's struck out 19, he's also walked 11 (4.9 BB/9). He was the Marlin closer but with lefties hitting .341 against him, he has been reduced to a role in the closer by committee.

Craig Kimbrel was in four WBC games tossing 3.2 innings. Kimbrel had been untouchable in 2011-12 with 88 saves and 1.61 ERA and 0.866 WHIP. But while he has been outstanding, he has also been human in 2013 with three blown saves, the same as he totaled all last season. Of greater concern is the six extra-base hits he's given up this season after allowing just four last year and eight in 2011.

R.A. Dickey pitched two WBC games and 9.0 innings. Is that the reason for his apocalyptic season, or is it the trade to the AL and pitching in unfamiliar surroundings? Dickey with Toronto already has the same six losses as he had all last season with the Mets, is walking about twice as many batters as last season (2.1 to 4.1/9) and has a WHIP of 1.354. Batters are being more patient with Dickey this season swinging at 43.0% of his pitches as opposed to 50.4% in part because last season 70.6% of his pitches were strikes or in play, compared just 64.6% this season.

David Hernandez appeared twice in the WBC throwing 1.2 innings. So far in 21 games for Arizona, his ERA is up to 3.32 compared to 2.50 last year and his WHIP is up to 1.338 compared to 1.024 last season.

Vinnie Pestano pitched in three games covering two innings for Joe Torre and Team USA and I doubt he would do it again. Last season's 2.57 ERA has ballooned to 5.25 this year and after 3.1 BB/9 last season, the Indians reliever is up to 5.3 which contributes to his 1.417. He's been on the DL once already this season with a sore right elbow (May 1) and looked simply awful Saturday against the Red Sox serving up more meatballs than an Italian chef in Boston's famed North End.

The five survivors

Tim Collins is still striking out batters for the Royals, whiffing 15 in 14.1 IP, after two games and one inning for team USA. Despite his 3.68 ERA, Collins has a 1.091 WHIP and has not allowed any of the 10 runners he's inherited to score.

Gio Gonzalez pitched five innings in his one WBC appearance. I don't think any team would mind having the Gonzalez who held the Reds to one hit over seven innings and the Cubs to two hits in seven scoreless innings. But the Nationals starter also had three April starts in which he gave up seven runs once and five runs twice. He's had a 1.67 in May.

Luke Gregerson tossed two innings in two games for Team USA and despite his 2-2 record for the Padres, he has a brilliant 0.87 ERA and a microscopic 0.677 WHIP in 20.2 IP. He's held batters to a .116 BAA.

Derek Holland pitched in one game (5 IP) in the WBC. For the Rangers this season he is 4-2 with a strong 2.97 ERA and 1.155 WHIP. He had a very strong game against the Mariners on Saturday after having given up eight runs in 10.1 IP over his prior two starts. he finished May 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA despite a 1.375 WHIP.

Glen Perkins tossed two innings in his two WBC appearances and the Twins reliever seems to have come out fine. His ERA is up (3.24 compared to 2.56) but after averaging 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings last season, he's up to 14.0 this season. Perkins has nine saves in 10 attempts and if someone makes an offer that the Twins can't refuse, the lefty could be traded to a contender at the deadline.

The bottom line

When the time comes for the WBC again, unless you are an unemployed pitcher looking to resurrect your career, I suggest doing what any smart pitcher would do in a tie game in the 9th inning and less than two outs with runners on second and third and Miguel Cabrera coming to the plate: offer an intentional pass.


Rangers Extend Derek Holland

By the time Rangers starter Derek Holland's contract extension is through, he might even be able to grow a full-blown 'stache. The 25-year-old lefty agreed to terms on a five-year, $28 million deal with club options for 2017 ($11 million) and 2018 ($11.5 million). Holland's pact is pretty similar to the extensions signed by Yovani Gallardo, Ricky Romero, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Trevor Cahill in recent years.

Holland is coming off a successful first full season in the big league rotation, posting a 113 ERA+ in 198 innings with 7.4 K/9, 3 BB/9 and 1 HR/9. He showed plenty of zip on his fastball and a solid slider, but to emerge as an ace and better handle right-handed hitters, Holland must fine-tune his curveball and changeup.

After sitting around 92 mph the previous two years, Holland gained fastball velocity throughout the 2011 season (going from 93 mph in April to 94.8 mph in September) and averaged 94.1 mph overall. Tampa's David Price was the only lefty to do a better job of lighting up the gun. Holland's heat had a healthy miss rate (17%, compared to the 14-15% average for starters), and few hitters made forceful contact when they did connect. Here's his in-play slugging percentage with the fastball in 2011, and then the league average:

Hitters' in-play slugging percentage vs. Holland's fastball, 2011

Average in-play slugging percentage vs. fastballs, 2011

Batters slugged just .362 versus Holland's fastball, placing him between Justin Verlander and Price in the top 10 among AL starters. Lefties had a harder time against Holland's fastball (.290 slugging) than righties (.390), but that righty slugging percentage was still well below the .424 overall average for starters this past year.

Holland's low-80's slider got plenty of misses (36%, versus the 29% average for starters), but the pitch was much more effective against fellow left-handers (.273 slugging percentage) than righties (.388 slugging percentage, above the .353 overall average for starters in 2011). That's not unusual -- sliders typically have a big platoon split. Lefty pitchers held lefties to a .285 slugging percentage on sliders in 2011, but a righties managed a .353 slugging percentage.

Curveballs and changeups are pitches that tend to be more effective against opposite-handed hitters than sliders, but that wasn't the case for Holland. Righties crushed Holland's curve (.582 slugging percentage), particularly on pitches that hugged the corners of the strike zone:

Righty hitters' in-play slugging percentage vs. Holland's curve, 2011

Against the changeup, batters blasted pitches that Holland left down the middle while slugging .490 overall:

Righty hitters' in-play slugging percentage vs. Holland's changeup, 2011

By virtue of his fastball, Holland is already a quality starter with room for growth. But with his best secondary offering being a slider with a big platoon split and opposite-handers teeing off on his curve and changeup, Holland fared much better versus lefties (.235/.284/.316) than righties (.272/.339/.426). The Dutchstache is a quality curveball or changeup away from dominating.