Derek Holland takes the mound tonight as the Texas Rangers begin a big series against the Oakland A's at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW). Holland has pitched well since returning from a disabled list stint in June and one big reason is improved location of his fastball to left-handed hitters.
ESPN Stats & Information (thanks Doug Kern) broke down how Holland is throwing the pitch farther outside and has slowed its velocity, likely to be sure he commands it. But he's getting more foul balls and a lower swing rate out of the pitch and it's working. A look at Holland's numbers against left-handed hitters before and after his DL stint:
Opponents' batting average: .250 (before), .224 (after)
Swing rate: 46 percent (before), 40 percent (after)
Foul ball rate: 35 percent (before), 42 percent (after)
Average speed: 93.2 (before), 92.3 (after)