ARLINGTON, Texas — Chicago White Sox left-hander Derek Holland is back in familiar surroundings, sleeping in his own bed as the White Sox play the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
But it’s still odd for Holland (6-12, 5.68 ERA) to be on the other side of the field when he squares off against former teammate Martin Perez (7-10, 5.08).
Holland spent the first eight seasons of his career pitching for the Rangers and Saturday marks the first time he’ll pitch at Globe Life Park as an opponent.
“Now that I’m back here at home, back here as in home in Texas, and I’ve got my family here again, just being able to pitch where it all started,” Holland said. “This is where all the memories began. This is where my career took off and this is team that brought me into this what you call baseball world.”
Holland has had a rocky baseball world in his lone season with the White Sox and has been the subject of trade talk. Holland won’t be facing Texas for the first time. He allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings in a July 1 start against the Rangers in Chicago, taking the loss.
Now that the first start against Texas is out of the way, he’s approaching Saturday like it’s a normal outing even though he’ll have family and friends in Arlington who have followed him throughout his career.
“Pitching-wise, you kind of get into your own world,” said Holland, who is 2-6 with a 7.86 ERA over his last 12 starts. “Just kind of like what me and (Texas shortstop) Elvis (Andrus) talked about when we were talking about facing each other. It’ll be funny at first to see each other, but at the same time in this aspect, it’s going to be really cool back in front of these guys, but … I know I’ve got to stay focused on what I’m trying to do just like they’ve got to stay focused, too.”
Perez has been focused on turning his season around and has gotten solid results. After a disastrous start to open August against Minnesota, he’s rebounded with consecutive quality starts and won his last two decisions. In his last 14 innings, he’s allowed three earned runs and lowered his ERA from 5.46 to 5.08.
He hasn’t faced the White Sox this season, but is 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA in three career starts against Chicago.
Like Holland, Perez is looking forward to the matchup Saturday. He’s thankful for the way Holland helped him adjust when he was finding his way in the Texas rotation.
“Coming up that was the guy who helped me and taught me how to work on this level,” Perez said. “I really would say to him ‘thank you’ for all the things he told me and helped me with my career and the things we did together as pitchers to help the team win.”