During last season's first half, Derek Holland was just as likely to throw a complete-game shutout as he was to not get out of the second inning, leaving Texas Rangers fans waiting to see if he'd ever really be what they'd hoped.
Early this season, things were kind of the same after Holland exceeded his prior career-high workload in 2011 and seemed to be feeling the ill effects of it early this season.
Then, following his June 5 start against the Oakland A's, which earned him a win, Holland was placed on the disabled list with a mysterious illness that Holland made not-so-mysterious (can I say it? Diarrhea?) that essentially led to arm fatigue because Holland dropped 15-20 pounds and lost strength. He returned a month later and in his four starts since he's gone at least six innings and is 2-1.
Holland had perhaps his best start of the season on Wednesday night to help the Rangers win their seventh straight home series over the Boston Red Sox, owners of the most productive offense in baseball.
Holland had everything working on Wednesday, striking out seven and walking just one in 7 2/3 innings on a nice, crisp 100 pitches. He allowed five hits and three runs (two off solo home runs). He was efficient, throwing first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 29 batters he faced.
Remember back to last season, when Holland went 10-1 with a 2.77 ERA over his last 15 starts of the regular season before turning in the greatest postseason start in Rangers history when he went 8 1/3 innings and shut down the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series.
Holland said he believes he's getting back to late-2011 form since returning from the DL.
"I put more pressure on myself than anyone else," Holland told ESPNDallas. "I know I haven't pitched the way I'm capable. I know I have to be better. I think the last four or five starts I'm starting to find that groove."