Derek Holland is playing the “nobody believes in us” card

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Derek Holland pitches for the two-time defending American League champions. A team which won its division by ten games last season and which signed the most sought-after pitcher on the market in Yu Darvish.

When 2012 season previews start appearing soon, you’ll see many people pick the Rangers to win the AL West.  Most gambling websites have the Rangers as one of the best bets in baseball, listing them at 10/1 to win the World Series, behind the Yankees, Tigers and Angels (the Angels are at 13/2). By any measure, therefore, the Rangers are considered to be a strong contender. A good team that, if things break right, could be great.

Yet, for some reason, Holland thinks everyone is counting the Rangers out. Here he was in the radio yesterday:

The thing that kills me is that we’re being ruled out again. Nobody realizes what we’ve done. We’ve got the same team as we did last year, and it’s like we don’t have a chance to go anywhere. It’s like they’re ruling us out from even making the playoffs.

Sure, maybe it stinks that the gambling websites like the Angels more (or at least think that favoring them will separate gamblers from their money more easily), but I defy Holland or anyone else to find me an example of someone “ruling the Rangers out from even making the playoffs.” I bet there isn’t one reputable commentator who does so this year.

But hey, if it makes Holland feel better to think that, more power to him.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.