Derek Holland leaves Game 4, surrendering six runs in two innings. Afterward he said, “I didn’t do my job.” It was the only time all day he was on target.
At the start of Game 4, the temperature in Arlington was ninety-seven degrees, making the Ballpark mostly uninhabitable. Even so, the crowd was eager, amped and ready to explode, even if it was ready to keel over from heat exposure.
After two batters, the game was 2-0, making the crowd mostly in shock.
After six hitters, the game was 3-0, making the crowd mostly hostile.
After three innings, the game was 6-0, making the crowd mostly disappear, and the game mostly indisputable.
Derek Holland was disappointing. There is no other word for it. He has been an enigma for most of his short season. At times he was brilliant. At times he was like he was yesterday.
After coming back from injury, the Rangers won, lost, won, won, lost, won, lost, lost and won in his nine starts. Like a tale of two Dereks, he was the best of pitchers, he was the worst of pitchers.
Going into last night’s Game 4, you didn’t know which Holland would show up. After two batters, you knew.
Playoffs are ripe for second-guessing, and the only bit of that here is why Jeff Banister left Holland in as long as he did. He knew he had no idea which Holland was going to show up. The leash should have been much shorter. Even if it meant having the pen go eight.
With his team desperate for offense and scoring at a Haley’s Comet pace, it was obvious he could not let this game get too far away before it was too late.
It was too late far too early, unfortunately. Derek Holland gave up six earned runs in two-plus innings, and the game from that point on was played to its conclusion mostly for record keeping.
Holland was wild in the strike zone from the very beginning. Everything he threw drifted back to the center of the plate. Those pitches are usually hit hard by bad teams. By the best team in baseball, which the Blue Jays are, they turn into home run derby.
Even though the score suggested otherwise, the Rangers did have a chance early facing R.A. Dickey and his erratic knuckleball. They just couldn’t take advantage, while the Blue Jays did.
In the first, Toronto sent six men to the plate. The Rangers, in their half, sent five.
Toronto scored three. The Rangers, zero.
Toronto sent eight men to the plate in the third. The Rangers sent five. Again, Toronto scored three. The Rangers, zero.
It became obvious early on that the Rangers entered into a Bazooka fight with a Daisy air rifle. They stormed the beaches of Normandy with a bag of soggy dirt clods.
At the end of Game 4, the temperature was still in the nineties. But most of the crowd had long since left the Ballpark. After all, what’s the fun of dying from heat stroke when your team loses 8-4?