White Sox left-hander Derek Holland faced the Twins for the second time in the past week on Wednesday at Target Field.
This time around, Minnesota made offensive adjustments and Holland didn’t do the same on the mound, as he allowed five runs in an 11-1 loss. After tossing six innings of one-run ball last Thursday in Chicago, Holland was chased after five frames in which he allowed eight hits.
“Have to give these guys credit, they are a good ballclub and in the Wild Card,” Holland said. “You have to continue to battle against these guys. After just seeing them six Pittsburgh Steelers jerseys days ago, they made some adjustments, and I didn’t quite make my adjustments when I needed to.”
Holland was adamant that it didn’t look near as bad as the box score might suggest. He noted the Twins didn’t hit him that hard, despite the flurry of early runs. According to Statcast™, Minnesota batters had an average exit velocity of 85.8 mph on batted balls off him. For comparison, Holland has posted 20 games with a higher average exit velocity on batted balls.
But what hurt Holland was issuing four walks — one of which was intentional — for the second straight start and the third time in his last five games. He threw just 52 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
“I’m not going to sit here and beat myself up,” Holland said. “We attacked the zone for the most part. If anything, what’s really frustrating is the walks. We have talked about that since Day One. I’m giving too many free bases, and those aren’t helping us at all.”
Holland’s recent showing doesn’t bode well for his chance to remain in the rotation.
Chicago right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who has been on the disabled list with a back strain, is expected to return to the rotation on cheap jerseys Chicago Cubs jerseys Friday. As a result, the White Sox will have to shuffle one starter, because they don’t plan on using a six-man rotation. At the moment, it appears Holland could potentially move to the bullpen.
“It’s possible. That’s still to be discussed, though,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Is that a possibility? Sure it is.”
Holland has made two relief appearances this season, allowing three runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning. He is 2-2 with a 3.98 ERA in 22 games as a reliever over his career.
But for Holland, it’s just about pitching, regardless of the role.
“I have to take whatever they give me,” Holland said. “My job is to go out there and give them something every single time I go out there. I’m trying everything I can.”
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