Greg Holland was the star of the show as he successfully closed out the Nats 8 – 3 win over the Braves. It was the first of a doubleheader on Tuesday and a much-needed boost to the veteran’s confidence.
His career 2.93 ERA took a battering at the Cardinals this season where he posted a 7.92 ERA. Inevitably, St Louis released him last month but the Nationals manager Dave Martinez invited Holland to throw for them this week.
“I told him, ‘I don’t care what you did in St. Louis,'” Martinez told reporters. “I said, ‘You get a fresh start here. Just be you. Come out here, have fun and get outs.'”
Sean Doolittle is working his way back from a stress fracture in his left foot while Koda Glover is at Triple-A Syracuse following right shoulder injuries. Furthermore trading Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley to the Cubs and A’s respectively exacerbated the situation. Martinez needed a solution; in Tuesday’s seventh-inning, he found it.
“He’s just really excited to be here,” Martinez said. “If we get him and he’s healthy, which we think he really is, he’s going to help us.”
Following his release from the Cards, Holland focussed on his consistency and mental processes on the mound. It paid off; the Nats optioned Jimmy Cordero to Syracuse so they could add the 32-year-old to their roster.
“I’ll be ready whenever the phone rings,” the right-hander declared. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have pitched in a lot of big games. The main thing right now is to be able to throw when your name is called.”
If he continues as he started, no-one at the Nats will doubt his word.