Results tagged ‘ Derek Holland ’

Holland-Daze

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that searches on Derek Holland spiked my blog traffic over the weekend.  That sort of thing will happen when you toss 8.1 scoreless, tw0-hit innings in the World Series, easily the biggest pitching performance in Texas Rangers history.  The former LumberKings ace is now firmly entrenched into baseball lore.

And, if you missed it, here’s a look via TexasRangers.com at Holland’s series-evening outing last night:  http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?c_id=tex&content_id=19943841&topic_id=25588886

I’d love to say that I knew he’d be this good when he was dominating Midwest Leaguers just three years ago, but I’d be lying.  He was special then, but he was historic last night.

-DL

A Good Weekend for Holland

Former LumberKings’ left-hander Derek Holland may have given up four runs on three homers over 4.2 innings on Saturday, but he and the Texas Rangers are headed back to the World Series via a 15-5 win over the Detroit Tigers.  That means fellow former Kings Ian Kinsler (’04), Mitch Moreland (’08), Craig Gentry (’07) and Neftali Feliz (’08) get another shot at that ring, while Holland gets to keep growing the playoff ‘stache.  The Rangers will meet the Maikel Cleto-less St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the phyiscal city of Holland must be celebrating right now after the Netherlands captured the 2011 IBAF World Cup title with a 2-1 win over Cuba on Saturday.  The game, played in Panama, featured former LumberKings Kalian Sams (’09-’11) and Danny Rombley (’01-’02) in the lineup, while infielder Vince Rooi (’01) remained on the bench.

The only Danny Rombley photo on file from his 2002 season in Clinton.

Sams went 0-for-2 with a walk while Rombley went 0-for-4.  View the full box score of the title game here:  http://ibaf.prod.kgroup.eu/stats/2011/panama/games/76.htm

Who knew Clinton had so many ties to the Dutch, including “the Dutch Oven“?

-DL

Kings in Spring (March 24)

According to Jamey Newberg at “The Newberg Report“, the Texas Rangers have set their starting rotation for the season.  One LumberKing has made the cut, while another has not.

Left-hander Derek Holland (’08) is back in the rotation thanks to solid Cactus League numbers (2-0, 3.21 ERA, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts in 4 outings, 14.0 innings)…he’ll join C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Tommy Hunter and Matt Harrison in the rotation, according to Newberg’s post.

That means right-hander and last year’s AL Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz (’08) is back in the bullpen as the Rangers’ closer.  Feliz was 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four Spring outings, including three starts.  Last year, he saved 40 games in 43 chances while going 4-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 70 outings.

-DL

Kings in Spring (March 14)

This may be old news to some, but I was back home in Milwaukee and unable to post it until now.  Right-hander Blake Beavan (’08) made his first Spring start as a Mariner on Saturday against Oakland and earned the win, limiting the Athletics to a run on three hits over 3.0 innings.  Shortly thereafter, Beavan was re-assigned to Minor League camp.  Right-hander Yoervis Medina (’10) also saw his time in big-league camp end as he was optioned to the High Desert spring roster.

In that Beavan start, a 10-2 win over the A’s, first-baseman Justin Smoak (’08) finally woke up his bat with a 2-for-2 game including a two-out two-run single in the fourth inning and a two-run homer to left-center in the sixth.  The blast was Smoak’s first in Cactus League action.

The Mariners’ roster still includes Smoak, right-handers Josh Lueke (’07-’08) and Tom Wilhelmsen (’10) and catcher Steven Baron (’10) at this time.  I have to say, I’m still surprised Baron is there.

Over in Surprise, the Texas Rangers sent outfielder Engel Beltre (’08), right-hander Fabio Castillo (’08) and left-hander Zach Phillips (’06-’07) back to Minor League camp on Saturday.

Continuing with Rangers camp, Ian Kinsler (’04) is hitting a healthy .367 with a .933 slugging percentage…the former Clinton infielder has a team-high five homers and nine RBI in 11 games.  While Chris Davis continues to assert his value to the team as a corner infielder, Mitch Moreland (’08) keeps fighting to hold onto the first-base spot…he’s hitting .375 with a .719 slugging percentage, five doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in 12 games.  Aside from catcher Jose Felix (’08), who is 5-for-5 with a double in big-league action, the group of former Kings that includes Chad Tracy (’07), Craig Gentry (’07), Marcus Lemon (’07) and others has been largely quiet offensively.

Left-hander Derek Holland (’08) is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA, no walks and six strikeouts in his two starts, totaling 5.0 innings.  Right-hander Neftali Feliz (’08) has pitched just twice in camp, including one start…the flamethrower has not allowed an earned run over 5.0 innings, but has walked three and has hit a batter in that span.  Lefty Michael Kirkman is carrying a 3.00 ERA in three outings and has struck out eight over 9.0 innings.

Scanning other camps, outfielder John Mayberry Jr. (’06) continues to look impressive in a bid for a roster spot with the Philadelphia Phillies…he’s hitting .324 with three doubles, four homers and nine RBI in 14 games.  Right-hander Maikel Cleto (’09) has had two outings with the St. Louis Cardinals and is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA, one save, four walks, three strikeouts and a home run allowed over 4.0 innings.  Right-hander Thomas Diamond (’04) is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA over four relief outings as he attemps to make the Chicago Cubs’ Opening Day roster.  Catcher Manny Pina (’07) and outfielder Tim Smith (’08) have both seen minor action in Kansas City Royals’ camp…Pina is 4-for-16 (.250) with a home run and three RBI in 10 games, while Smith is hitless in two at-bats. 

There’s plenty more players to track, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

-DL

Kings in Spring (March 4)

Departing from Mariners camp in Peoria for a day, it’s time to check out what’s going on with our old pals with the Texas Rangers.

One of the big Spring storylines not only in Surprise, AZ but across baseball is whether or not defending AL Rookie of the Year and former LumberKings right-hander Neftali Feliz (’08) will transition from closer to starting pitcher.  Feliz made his first Cactus League start yesterday in split-squad against the Cleveland Indians, tossing 2.0 scoreless innings but looking less-than-sharp as he allowed two hits, walked a batter and hit another.  I don’t think Nolan Ryan and company are too worried at this point.

Right-hander Eric Hurley (’05) came on and retired six-straight hitters on all of 21 pitches over 2.0 innings in his first action.  Things looked good for Texas, who held an 8-2 advantage heading into the seventh, until the Indians struck for seven runs against a pair of former Kings.  Mark Hamburger (’08) served up a one-out grand slam to Matt LaPorta and left-hander Zach Phillips (’06-’07) allowed all three of his inherited runners to score in a blown save.  Fortunately, Chris Davis saved the day with a walk-off, two-run homer to give the Rangers an 11-9 win.

Ian Kinsler (’04) continued his hot start in his newfound home atop the order, lifting a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first (his third already this Spring) and finishing 2-for-2 to raise his average to .556.  Davis Stoneburner (’08) and Jose Felix (’08) also chipped in…Stoneburner went 1-for-2 with an RBI and is hitting .333…Felix went 2-for-2 as the starting catcher, keeping his average at 1.000.

The other half of the split squad defeated the Chicago Cubs, 8-7.  Left-hander Derek Holland (’08), eyeing a return to the starting rotation, yielded a run on three hits and struck out two over 2.0 innings in his first outing.  Cody Eppley (’08) fired a scoreless inning in relief to get the win. World Series hero Mitch Moreland (’08) went 2-for-2 with a two-run homer and three total RBI, and David Paisano (’07-’08) lined a two-run triple off fellow former LumberKing Thomas Diamond (’04) to lead the offense.  Diamond took the loss for the Cubs with those two runs over 1.0 relief inning.

-DL

The Interview Vault: Derek Holland

holland interview vault.jpgBack in April of 2008, a 20-year-old draft-and-follow left-hander named Derek Holland was a relative surprise choice for Clinton’s Opening Night starter against the Cedar Rapids Kernels. 

Holland, the 25th round pick by the Texas Rangers in 2006 out of Wallace State Community College wasn’t exactly a hot prospect when he arrived to start the 2008 season.  He was coming off a solid 4-5, 3.22 season in Spokane, but wasn’t the returning playoff hero that right-hander Evan Reed was.  Reed, a third-round pick in 2007 out of Cal Poly was given the #2 starter role because pitching coach Danny Clark felt Holland “had earned it” with a great Spring Training.

What Holland would earn from there on would put him on the fast track to the big leagues.

He went 7-0 with a 2.40 ERA and limited Midwest League opponents to a .228 average over his 17 starts as a LumberKing, including six innings of one-hit ball in that previously-mentioned Opening Night outing against the Kernels.  Getting better with each start and limited only by a pesky blister on his pitching hand, Holland would prove ready for the next level by the time July rolled around.  In his final three starts, he yielded just a run over 19.2 innings (a 0.46 ERA) and struck out 18.

His fantastic rise continued in the Cal League as he needed just five starts with Bakersfield to prove to Rangers brass that he was too good for high-A as well.  Added along with LumberKings’ teammate Neftali Feliz to double-A Frisco, Holland would go 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a .163 opponent average over four regular-season starts and 1-1 with an astounding 0.44 ERA (1 ER in 20.2 IP) in three playoff starts for the RoughRiders.  He’d end the year alongside Feliz as the unquestioned future of the Texas staff.

By the time late April, 2009 came around, Holland was primed for his Major League debut with the Rangers.  Not quite a full year after he was a suspicious choice for Clinton’s #1 rotation spot, he was dressing in blue and red at Rogers Centre in Toronto, tossing 2.1 scoreless innings in relief against the Blue Jays.

In parts of two Major League seasons with the Rangers, Holland has already seen his fair share of success and failure.  After dropping his ERA as low as 4.72 with three-straight wins in the rotation (including a complete-game effort against the Angels on August 9), Holland lost six of his last seven starts to finish the ’09 season at 8-13, 6.12.  This season saw Holland bounce between triple-A Oklahoma City and the Rangers, improving on his numbers significantly as he went 3-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 14 games, 10 starts with Texas.

And, of course, he pitched in the 2010 playoffs.  Ignore his disastrous outing against San Francisco in the World Series and he was pretty solid in relief.  The Rangers might not advance past the Yankees without his relief victory in the Bronx in Game 4.  Needless to say, Holland has made himself a fixture as either a starter or reliever heading into 2011.

For today’s edition of The Interview Vault, I’ve dug up my first recorded conversation with Derek following the first of his seven wins with the LumberKings.  He defeated the Dayton Dragons at Fifth Third Field, not far from his hometown of Newark, OH back on April 18, 2008.  Aside from talking about the outing, we also talk about his favorite team growing up — the Atlanta Braves — and his favorite pitcher from that staff, the legendary Greg Maddux.  Fitting that his current pitching coach is Mike Maddux.

Listen Here: 
Derek Holland (April, 2008).mp3

I’ve also interviewed Derek since he’s been a Ranger.  You can find that on a previous LumberBlog post here: http://mlblogslumberkings.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/holland20interview20vault-thumb-480×270-25217911.jpgarchives/2009/06/special_guest_derek_holland.html

-DL

The Interview Vault: Danny Clark

dc interview vault.jpgThe World Series is over, and the San Francisco Giants are the well-deserved champions.  No doubt, their young rotation of Tim Lincecum/Matt Cain/Madison Bumgardner — and to a lesser degree Jonathan Sanchez — handcuffed the Rangers over the course of five games en route to the 4-1 series victory.  Only Mitch Moreland hit above .250 for the series, batting .462 with a home run and three RBI.

While the San Fran arms are sure to be the buzz around baseball all winter, there’s no doubt that the young guns of the Texas rotation and bullpen proved a little something as well on the national stage.  Colby Lewis stepped out of the shadow of Cliff Lee to prove to be the Rangers’ stopper, going 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four postseason starts including the lone World Series win.  Rookie closer Neftali Feliz shrugged off doubts that he could perform in the playoffs, posting a 1.23 ERA in seven appearances including a World Series save.

Ignore the blowups in Game 2 and left-handers Derek Holland and Michael Kirkman were actually pretty solid.  The Rangers might not get past the New York Yankees without the clutch 3.2 scoreless innings thrown by Holland in Game 4 of the ALCS.  Alexi Ogando was another unknown heading into late October, and he responded with a 1.50 ERA in five postseason outings before ending up on the disabled list.

All of these pitchers (aside from Lee), at some point on their way to reaching Arlington have worked with Texas Rangers’ Pitching Coordinator Danny Clark.  Better known as “DC”, Clark was the pitching coach here in Clinton from 2007-2008 before rising to his current rank prior to the 2009 season. 

The 2008 campaign alone saw Clark teach the likes of Feliz, Holland, Kirkman, Blake Beavan, Michael Main, Josh Lueke, Kennil Gomez and Ryan Tatusko.  The year before, he guided pitchers like Kasey Kiker, Zach Phillips, Omar Poveda and Evan Reed, all right here in Clinton, IA.

Today, we’ll dust off an interview I did with DC during the second half of that tremendous ’08 year.   We talk about Feliz’s development of a breaking ball/changeup to compliment his blazing fastball, Kirkman’s revival after tough seasons in ’06 and ’07, Holland’s 7-0 start to the season, Gomez and Beavan working through struggles and more. 

Listen Here: 
Pitching Coach Danny Clark (talking about Feliz, Holland in 2008).mp3

Interestingly enough, we ran into DC just hours before Game 3 on Saturday in Arlington.  It was one of those “coming full circle” moments that baseball often provides.  I imagine that, like us, he was pretty astounded by how fast the success has come for many of his pitchers.  It’s a success I believe you’ll see around Texas for seasons to come. 

-DL

Following Former Kings in the MLB Playoffs


Volquez ('04).jpgThe 2010 Major League Baseball Postseason begins in just about 40 minutes as the Texas Rangers start things off with the opener of their ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays.  With Texas’s return to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 there’s an extra-high volume of former LumberKings to watch this postseason.  Not all of them, however, are Rangers.

The 25-man playoff roster for the Rangers includes former LumberKings second-baseman Ian Kinsler (’04), first-baseman Mitch Moreland (’08), right-hander Neftali Feliz (’08) and left-hander Derek Holland (’08).  Left-hander Michael Kirkman (’06-’08) was left off the playoff roster but will probably still be with the club in Tampa in case of injury.

The man traded for four former ’08 LumberKings (Justin Smoak, Blake Beavan, Matt Lawson and Josh Lueke) in Cliff Lee gets the game one start for the Rangers, who have never won a playoff series.

Over in the NL, the Central Division Champion Cincinnati Reds also begin their NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies today.  They’ll start a former LumberKing in right-hander Edinson Volquez (’04, pictured left as “Edison Volquez”) against the defending NL Champs.

The Reds also have right-hander Nick Masset (’03) on their playoff roster, while the Phillies decided not to include their only Clinton alumnus, outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. (’06) amongst their 25 players.

To my knowledge, there’s no former LumberKings with the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays or Minnesota Twins.  I could be wrong.

Given the high volume of former recent Kings with Texas, the Rangers have my backing this year.  Feel free to weigh in on the 2010 MLB Playoffs (and all your old favorite Kings) by commenting below!

-DL

 

Kirkman Called to Texas

kirkman.JPGVia a press release from the Texas Rangers, it is confirmed that former LumberKings’ left-hander Michael Kirkman (’06-’08) has been called up to the 25-man roster to take the place of fellow former King Derek Holland (’08), who has been sent back to triple-A Oklahoma City.

Kirkman, 23, went 13-3 with a 3.09 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 24 games with the RedHawks.  He lead the PCL in strikeouts, ranked second in wins and third in ERA at the time of the promotion. 

The fifth-round pick by Texas back in 2005, Kirkman went 0-3 with a 6.98 ERA in six outings with the Kings in 2006 before having his season ended by a hamstring injury suffered in the team’s final series ever at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek, MI.  He’d return again in 2007 (0-1, 7.43 in five games, two starts) and 2008 (4-3, 4.36 in 15 games, 14 starts) before really taking off last year.  Kirkman went 4-1, 2.06 in Bakersfield and ended up in double-A Frisco by year’s end, going 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 18 starts for the RoughRiders.

Kirkman will join first-baseman Justin Smoak (Texas/Seattle), right-hander Omar Beltre (Texas) and 1B/OF Mitch Moreland (Texas) as former Clinton players to make Major League debuts this season.

EDIT:  I knew I forgot someone.  Thomas Diamond also debuted with the Chicago Cubs this year.

Kirkman will be wearing #62 and will most likely be pitching out of the bullpen.  I’ll post an update after he makes his official debut.

-DL

Off the Diamond: Tyler Hildreth

You haven’t seen much from the LumberBlog the last two days, and you can blame Mother
Hildreth_TylerDSC_0009(edit4x6).jpgNature.  The Kings were rained out in the finale at Peoria on Tuesday night, then saw last night’s game suspended by rain at Alliant Energy Field in the fourth inning with Quad Cities leading, 1-0.

Last night’s game resumes tonight with another seven-inning contest to follow.  Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (5-3, 3.01) will start the second game.  Read more in tonight’s Game Notes: 
7.8.10 kingsnotes.pdf

With no new player/coach to interview, I figured it’s high time to renew the “Off the Diamond” segment.  Tonight, I catch up with LumberKings’ clubhouse manager Tyler Hildreth.  A member of the staff since 2007, Hildreth has seen the likes of MLB All-Star Neftali Feliz, Justin Smoak, Derek Holland and Craig Gentry pass through Clinton on their way to the Major Leagues.  He’s also a diehard Miami Heat fan and will weigh in on his excitement over the pending LeBron James decision.

Listen Here: 
Tyler Hildreth OTD Interview 7.8.10.mp3
 

The resumption of last night’s game begins at 6:00 PM with the pregame show starting at 5:45 PM.  Listen online at 1390kcln.com.

-DL

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