Holland Still Searching

Over the course of his eight seasons coming out of the bullpen, Greg Holland has had rough outings and stretches before. He has a simple formula he follows afterwards.

“Think about what I did wrong, go home and play with my kids, and get some sleep,” said Holland. “Wake up the next morning and do it all over again.”

The approach has been good for the right-hander to earn 186 saves to this point, but it has yet to fully provide the consistency Holland and the St. Louis Cardinals are looking for this season.

After recording two quick outs to open the 8th inning, Holland issued a walk, triple, and single as Philadelphia scored two runs for the eventual 7-6 victory over St. Louis.

“Thought I was rolling,” said Holland. “Fall behind a guy and walk him, make a bad pitch in a 2-strike count. That’s just the way it’s going for me. But if I’m putting myself in better situations, one bad pitch is a double and no runs are in. I’ve got to limit the things I can control and that’s putting guys on base for free, especially in the situation with two outs and nobody on.”

“You get a couple quick outs and yeah, walks are always going to hurt us–especially late in the game,” echoed Mike Matheny. “It’s frustrating because you just see so many things that look right and then we can’t finish it off.”

Asked if he was dealing with any physical issues, Holland dismissed that as a concern.

“Nope, I’m good,” he answered.

At times, Holland has looked like the elite reliever of the past few seasons. He’s put together two different stretches this season of four outings with four scoreless innings and allowed only one hit in each of those periods. But they have then been followed by the outings which have the reliever and Cardinals searching for answers.

“He’s the last one to give an excuse,” said Matheny. “He’s rolling and everything looks right. You’re seeing the awkward swings, you’re seeing good pitches in tough counts–everything that’s made him successful. He’s just having a tough time repeating it throughout an inning. Still believe he’s going to get there, but we’re going to have to figure out how to use him until it does.”

“I’ll talk with the coaches tomorrow, but I don’t feel like I’m doing anything mechanically wrong that I need to work on,” said Holland. “It’s maybe a mental lapse here, a bad pitch selection there, and that kind of scenario. But when you step between the lines and the other team is trying to embarrass you, you’ve just got to compete.”

And Greg Holland wants to compete and work his way through this situation on the big league level.

Asked if it made sense to go to Memphis or a place where he could pitch multiple days to find some answers, he replied with a strong “no”.

LIMITED INNINGS

Before today’s game, Matheny discussed that there were a number of arms in the bullpen that the Cardinals were trying to use for only one inning so that they could remain available for multiple days. That situation arose later in the game, as Jordan Hicks was relieved after needing only 12 pitches for a scoreless 7th inning.

“I wish,” said Matheny of his desire to leave Hicks in for another inning. “Trying to steer us away from it. Just how his arm’s responded the times we have used him for two innings and it hasn’t been good. Just kind of following medical direction as far as he’s concerned.”

Closer Bud Norris threw 30 pitches to record the final five outs of the game and could be unavailable for tomorrow or even Monday’s game.

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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