Who's more effective: Darvish or Holland?


Rangers' ace is only getting better

Durrett By Richard Durrett

There's no question that Yu Darvish is firmly establishing himself as an ace. Proof of that is all over this 2013 season.

It all started in Game 2 with a near-perfect outing against the Houston Astros.

Then there was his most recent performance -- seven shutout innings on three hits against the Royals over the weekend. The scary part of that: We can all agree he wasn't even close to his best.

Yep, Darvish was frustrated with how he pitched yet still managed to take advantage of the aggressive Kansas City hitters and give his team a chance to win. That's what aces do.

Not only has Darvish been the most effective Rangers pitcher -- not to mention the most consistent - but he's also been one of the most effective pitchers in the big leagues, period.

Darvish is in the top 10 in ERA, wins, WHIP and WAR among starting pitchers. No other Rangers pitcher can claim that. Heck, only a few other pitchers can claim that. He leads the league in strikeouts.

And when the Rangers need a win, no one is better than Darvish. He's a stopper. He's the guy you most want on the mound in critical games.

Darvish has dazzled with his assortment of pitches. Most scouts will tell you that he has the best slider in the game.

And the 26-year-old, in just his second full season in the big leagues, is only going to get better.

Darvish's last eight starts in 2012, plus his solid showing in the American League wild-card game, were a preview to what he was capable of doing on a more consistent basis. He's 7-2 with a 2.77 ERA. He's gone at least six innings in all but one of his 12 starts. He's had quality starts in eight of those outings.

In other words, he pitches deep into games and leaves with his team either in the lead or in the game with an opportunity to win it.

So when you ask who is the most effective starter on the Rangers, for me it's Darvish. He fronts this rotation and has become extremely reliable. That should be critical come playoff time.

Tie to guy beating expectations

Wills By Todd Wills

Derek Holland has been the Texas Rangers' most effective starting pitcher this season, even more than teammate Yu Darvish.

How, you ask?

Darvish has met expectations. Holland has exceeded them.

The numbers are even. Darvish has eight quality starts. Holland has seven, making one fewer start than his teammate.

Holland has been an innings eater this season, just like Darvish. Holland is averaging 6.7 innings per start, which is 10th in the American League. Darvish is just ahead of him at 6.78 innings per start, eighth best in the league.

Darvish has seven wins; Holland five.

Darvish has pitched exactly how most figured he would after finishing last season on a tear -- even pitching well in the Rangers' playoff loss.

Holland had a career worst 4.67 ERA in 2012, leaving him with more to prove. The pressure was on Holland to have a good offseason. He did. He's a fitter pitcher. He's a better pitcher.

His effectiveness has allowed the Rangers to navigate through the ups and downs of rookie starters Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch and a three-week injury to Alexi Ogando.

Without Holland's breakthrough season, the Rangers would be Darvish and a bunch of question marks.

Holland has given the Rangers a chance to win every time out. They are 9-2 in his starts. They've won six in a row. The Rangers are 9-3 in Darvish's starts.

Just food for thought when putting together a tale of the tape for the Rangers' one-two pitching punch.

In this case, the tie goes to the pitcher having the breakthrough season. It goes to Holland.


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