Bad location dooms Derek Holland

ARLINGTON, Texas -- After a solid start to the season, Derek Holland picked up losses in two straight starts for the first time since August of 2010.

Holland had trouble locating his fastball at times, giving up five runs on nine hits in seven innings of work in a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The lefty said it's a little too early to push the panic button.

"It's not like I'm out there trying to walk people or throw around people," Holland said. "I'm throwing strikes and going after them, so I'm not going to change anything."

In the two losses, Holland was also going up against two of the best American League lineups in the Rays and Yankees.

"The main thing is just to continue grinding," Holland said. "You're going to have days like today. I thought I was going to have everything working for me. I just got too much plate. That's the only bad part."

While his fastball was off, he was in better command of his secondary pitches. It might be a little comforting to manager Ron Washington and the Rangers that he struck out eight batters in seven innings Sunday night. He had just one strikeout in six innings against the Yankees.

Holland stressed that he and catcher Yorvit Torrealba worked in sync on what he wanted to throw -- he said he was just missing the spots.

"Everything was working on the same page with what we want to throw," Holland said. "It was just location that kind of hurt me, and we'll continue grinding through it and not worry too much about it."

Holland pitched a perfect first inning but unraveled in the second. Jeff Keppinger had an RBI single after Ben Zobrist's leadoff triple. B.J. Upton and Luke Scott followed with back-to-back doubles. Sean Rodriguez added a sacrifice fly to put the Rays up 3-1 before Holland retired the next two batters.

Holland gave up another run in the third on an RBI double by Zobrist.

With long reliever Scott Feldman getting loose in the bullpen, Holland decided he wasn't done by striking out the side in the fourth inning, then getting out of the next two innings unscathed. He gave up another run in the seventh on a Desmond Jennings RBI triple.

Holland said he still feels like there aren't a lot of adjustments to make to get back to his winning ways.

"I don't really feel like too much is wrong," Holland said. "I threw all my pitches for strikes, so I'm not concerned with that. It's obviously just the location of getting the ball where it needed to be."

Washington didn't seem to concerned about it, either.

"In that second inning, he misplaced some fastballs," Washington said. "He got a grip on that, and had great secondary stuff. He left some fastballs up and they hit them."

Holland's next scheduled start is May 5 at Cleveland against veteran Derek Lowe.