Perhaps we finally found the one way to get Derek Holland to pitch like he is capable. Perhaps the solution to curing what’s in his head is with what goes around his head.
At the end of 2013, and again at the end of 2015, Holland had a line drive nearly decapitate him. From that point on in both seasons, he totally fell apart.
Every time from then on when he would release a pitch, he would throw up his hands into the air to protect himself from a potential ball coming back at his head.
Trouble was, in order to keep his head from being smashed in, he was allowing the other hitters to smash his ERA to smithereens.
He was pitching scared, not pitching with confidence. He was pitching defensively, not pitching with authority.
He was getting lit up.
Well, yesterday, MLB announced a new hat for pitchers, designed in conjunction with the Players Association.
Player will laugh at them. Mock them. Refuse to wear them.
But this might just be the difference between the brilliant Derek Holland we saw in 2014 when he posted a sparkling ERA of 1.42 with a WHIP of 1.052, and the Derek Holland we saw at the end of last season who imploded in the playoffs and gave up six earned runs in two innings and basically lost the game before he faced the third batter.
Maybe the cure for a head case is head gear.