A small rupturing of the Rangers’ rotation has raised some questions, but manager Jeff Banister has stifled them all.
With a wealth of starting pitching - brag about it, why don’t you, Texas - the Rangers moved Derek Holland to the bullpen on Sunday in what Banister said was not a "permanent assignment." In 18 starts this season, the 29-year-old Holland has a 4.74 ERA and only 1.88 SO/W. His last start came on September 8 against the Mariners, when he needed 100 pitches to get through 4.1 innings and gave up 10 H and 4 ER.
The temporary nature of Holland’s relief gig was confirmed just two days later. Holland had been shifted to the new role only to have Banister tell reporters that Holland was being re-shifted back into his original starting role after Tuesday night’s game, getting the ball Wednesday in place of Yu Darvish.
When pushed for an explanation, Banister, feeling verbose and illustrious, gave reporters a real earful:
"We're making this change because this is the way we chose to go," he said.
While there was stated to be no injury suffered by Darvish, he was feeling some "soreness" in his throwing arm. As a man who underwent Tommy John surgery last season, ears are going to perk up at any mention of soreness in the area surrounding Yu Darvish. Were the Rangers about to lose one of their key starters again with the playoffs right around the corner? Since the all-star break, the three-time all-star has a 3.38 ERA in 11 starts. But Texas pitching coach Doug Brocail squelched any notions that Darvish was experiencing fallout from his surgery.
Pitching coach Doug Brocail allowed that Darvish had experienced some soreness in his arm, but called it "good" soreness. He explained that Darvish had continued to work on the arm extension on his fastball and slider and that the correction had led to what he described as typical post-throwing soreness.
Darvish’s next start will come Saturday against Oakland in Arlington. The A’s are actually Darvish’s biggest headache as far as opponents go, having racked up 36 ER and 11 HR against the 30-year-old right-hander in 12 career starts and a hair over 70 IP since 2012.