Holland brings out best in Rangers' hitters

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Holland doesn’t have an explanation for the way his teammates break loose with run support in games he starts.

“They always do that for me,’’ the left-hander, who just turned 25 last week, said in the Texas Rangers celebratory clubhouse following Saturday’s 15-5 blowout of Detroit in the decisive Game 6 of the ALCS.

The run support statistic is measured by a team's runs scored (average, per nine innings pitched) while the pitcher is of record.

During the regular season, Holland got the best support of any starting pitcher in baseball, with an average of 9.23 runs per game. In the playoffs, Holland is a MLB best with 19.76.

But why?

The Holland sense of humor takes over.

“Maybe they love the mustache,’’ Holland laughed.

Holland’s “mustache’’ is several weeks old, yet still barely visible. It is a subject that Holland often jokes about.

But when it comes to pitching, Holland is deadly serious.

The Detroit Tigers touched Holland for three home runs Saturday night, but major damage was avoided because he issued no walks. Manager Ron Washington gave Holland the hook with two out in the fourth, one out shy of qualifying for a victory. Texas led 9-4 when Holland was removed.

Said Holland: “My job tonight was to go right after them and make sure we came out on top. With a lead, I don’t change the mindset. I still give it everything I’ve got.’’

Holland was charged four earned runs on seven hits, but was helped by two double plays and five strikeouts. He allowed two fewer runs than Tigers’ losing pitcher Max Scherzer in twice as many innings.

Washington praised Holland and the other members of the Texas starting staff.

“Our young kids took on the workload of going out there every five days with no experience and proving they can battle through a major league-tested season,’’ the manager said. “All of that came into play. It wasn’t easy.’’