Some folks prescribe to the theory that if a team doesn’t win a championship, that the season was a total loss. Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland is not one of those folks. Asked if the season was lost when the Rangers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games, Holland says “definitely not.”
He’s got a point. Not many had the Rangers pegged to return to the World Series for a second consecutive year. And while they certainly would have liked to have changed the outcome this time around, making it two years in a row is quite the feat.
Derek Holland joined ESPN Dallas with The Ben & Skin Show to discuss how this year feels compared to last year, if the Rangers got over what happened in Game 6, the disadvantage of playing in St. Louis, if everything just felt stacked against the Rangers with the way things unfolded, why the season wasn’t a complete failure and if he can become the ace of a staff.
How different does this year feel from last year?:
“To me, it’s a lot worse and a lot different because we were so good in [Game 7]. Obviously, the competition was good. … We were just so close to killing their historic dream, the little run that they had. And it just slipped away. And just to see it happen for a second time, and both times I was out in the bullpen, it was like something just stole everything from me. … I lost everything.”
Did you feel like you guys got over what happened in Game 6 in time to play Game 7?:
“I would say we did. We got over it, it’s just we couldn’t believe what just happened. We started [Game 7] off hot. … Obviously I felt like we showed that we didn’t let that game affect us, coming out in the first inning and putting up two runs right out of the gate. … But then it just didn’t work out.”
Do you think you guys were in a tremendous disadvantage when playing at St. Louis?:
“It takes us out of our game, obviously. We’re an American League team and we’re not used to doing the whole National League thing. At the same time, I feel like Wash did make a lot of great moves when it came to the time. I actually think we out-managed them in Game 6. They were having pitchers hit in extra innings.”
Given all the little things that happened that allowed them to win, including the postponement to allow Carpenter to pitch Game 7, did it feel like they were kind of destined to win?:
“We didn’t think that, because, to us, we felt like we were once again the underdogs. … It’s been like that for us the whole year. They picked the Red Sox to win the World Series and everybody else to be in front of us. The big thing is, I felt like we’ve been an underdog the whole time, and we’re probably going to do it again next year as well, and that doesn’t bother us. It’s like you said though, we were going up against some crazy odds, but we didn’t think like that though.”
Is this season a complete failure given that you guys didn’t win it all?:
“No, definitely not. First off, we weren’t supposed to be where we were. That’s the first thing. We did a lot with the injuries we went through. … We were proving people wrong, once again. I don’t even think we were picked to win the West. … If this season is a complete failure, that’s bad and I don’t know what’s going on with that. But, to me, I feel like we accomplished a lot. We didn’t get the World Series. That’s a big letdown. We did go back-to-back AL champs, so we obviously did something right.”
How high up in a rotation do you think you can be at this level? Can you be a No. 1 starter?:
“If we went and closed everything off of this year, I’d say I’m maybe a two or a three. I’m not going to say I’m an ace, but I’m working to get there. … I still feel like there’s more that I need to do. I’m probably going to be the toughest critic on my own self. Some people might sit there and go, ‘You’re ace-ready.’ That’s you guys. I like to think different. I’m a hard worker. I want to make sure I do what I have to do to make sure I can be that ace.”