Slowly but surely, Greg Holland is inching towards solidifying his spot as the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals.
His scoreless inning in yesterday’s victory marked his fourth consecutive scoreless outing.
“Yeah, it feels good,” said Holland. “It’s one of those things where sometimes you just kind of searching, one way or another. The last several times out, it’s felt better and better. The main thing is I’m recovering well and I feel good physically so looking forward to continuing that.”
During these last four scoreless outings, Holland also has five strikeouts and has allowed one hit and one walk. The performance has earned confidence for the manager to call his name in higher leverage situations.
“Very comfortable, I like him,” said Mike Matheny postgame. “Righties, lefties–you’re seeing the swings. That was that indicator we were looking for. What kind of at-bats are guys taking against him. It’s different. They’re not seeing the spin, they’re not picking him up real well. That’s what we were accustomed to seeing.”
Unsigned as a free agent until after Spring Training, the progress has been slow for Holland. But with each successful outing, he’s getting closer to his old form. And he hasn’t forgotten his past success.
“I feel like that no matter what–that’s what gets you to this level,” said Holland of his own confidence to deliver in the heat of battle. “I would expect that all the guys in the bullpen feel the same way as far as wanting to be in those high leverage situations with the game on the line. That’s the competitor in us, that’s what got us to the big leagues. Yeah, I feel good. That’s really as far as I can go. You prepare before the game so you know you’re ready and if you’re physically able, then you expect the best out of yourself. Right now, I think we’re doing a good job of that collectively.”
So does this mean that Holland is ready to take the ball on back-to-back days?
“I don’t look at it that way,” said Holland. “The first few weeks I was here, it was a communication thing where they asked me how I felt. They weren’t going to use me back-to-back days early. I think I’m in a spot now where we’re just going day-to-day. ‘How do you feel? You feel good?’ That’s something that Maddux and Matheny do with all of us every day because you don’t want to burn anybody out this early in the season. You’re going to need a lot of the arms when it comes to playoff time.
“Right now, it’s just one of those things–yeah, my recovery’s been good. I feel like I could go back-to-back. Right now we’ll just celebrate this win, get on the plane and get some sleep, and go see how we feel tomorrow.”
–The St. Louis Cardinals have recalled pitcher Mike Mayers from Memphis (AAA) and optioned John Gant back to the Redbirds.
The 26-year old Mayers made three appearances with the Cardinals earlier this month, allowing just one run in 5.0 innings pitched. After being optioned to Memphis, he threw 5.0 scoreless innings while earning saves on April 21 and April 23 at Iowa.
Gant was recalled prior to yesterday’s game and gained the win with 3.0 perfect innings in the Cardinals 4-3 win over the Mets in 13 innings.
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