Nothing to see here, folks.

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Don’t go jumping to conclusions,
but I thought this was interesting.

 

Derek Holland was in
control of a 3-2 lead over Omaha through five innings last night. 

 

He’d scattered two runs on four hits, all singles.  Punched out eight, the best strikeout rate he’d
had in any of his six starts.  Issued just
one walk. 

 

The two runs came on a bunt single and infield hit in the
third inning (after which Holland struck out ex-big leaguers Alex Gordon and
Scott Thorman to end the inning).  The result:
his ERA rose to 0.93, which is still the best in the 16-team Pacific Coast
League.  He’s second in the league in
strikeouts.

 

His fourth inning was quiet (strikeout, strikeout, groundout
to first base).  So was his fifth
(strikeout, popout to second base, single to center, strikeout).

 

He’d thrown 83 pitches, his lightest pitch count since throwing
82 in Oklahoma City’s opener on April 8. 
A very solid 57 of those pitches went for strikes.  He’d faced 20 Royals, the fewest opponents he’s
faced all season.

 

He’d coaxed five groundouts, just one flyout.  But not really.  The one “flyout” was that pop to second.

 

But his night was done.

 

I haven’t seen that there was any rain, or a dust storm in
Omaha, or a light standard that blew out. 
I don’t think there was any sort of extended game delay that would have prompted
the club not to send Holland out for the sixth. 
His RedHawks teammates didn’t freeze him up in the dugout with a long
top of the sixth, sending just four hitters up.

 

Was Holland pulled after five effective innings and 83
pitches in a 3-2 game to make sure fellow lefthander Clay Rapada (one inning), AAA-debuting
righthander Tanner Scheppers (two innings), and closer Pedro Strop (one inning)
could get a prescribed amount of work in? 
Doubtful, considering Holland’s chances to help the big club would seem
to be more of an immediate consideration than those of the other three.

 

Was he lifted because he was hurt?  Haven’t seen anything to lead me to believe so.

 

Was he being protected because he’s going to be starting for
Texas in five days?  Surely not.  Scott Feldman wouldn’t be in danger of losing
his rotation spot, even if he hadn’t rounded back into form last night by
retiring the final 12 A’s he faced.  And
Feldman surely isn’t injured.  There’s no
way Texas would have sent him back out there for seven innings after he’d given
up seven runs through four frames if there was a physical issue – and Holland’s
night was over well before Feldman was stretched to seven in the West Coast
game.

 

Was Holland’s assignment cut short because the Rangers want
him ready to start on short rest this Saturday? 
No chance, not after the way Rich Harden pitched on Monday.

 

Is Holland about to be traded?  Of course not.

 

There’s obviously an explanation, surely something not worth
the 450 words I’ve coughed up so far.  Maybe
Holland developed a blister.  Maybe he was
fighting the stomach flu.  Maybe that circuit
did blow on a bank of lights in Rosenblatt Stadium and delayed the game 45
minutes.

 

But in these days of over-analysis and, as T.R. Sullivan
noted on the radio pregame show last night, too much focus on the minor
leagues, yeah, I guess I went there. 

 

Don’t expect a Newberg Report news flash updating this
non-story.  But I did find it interesting.

 

 

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(c) Jamey Newberg

http://www.newbergreport.com

Twitter 
@newbergreport

 

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