ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 5: Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers delivers a pitchin the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 5, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
It's still too early to say Texas Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland has turned the proverbial corner from being a hot-and-cold, inconsistent starter with the stuff of an ace and the consistency of a No. 4 pitcher.
But so far this season, Holland has looked more the part of a strong No. 2 pitcher, filling the void left by the injured Matt Harrison, than what he's been in the past, which is a guy with the potential to go throw eight scoreless innings or give up eight runs in two innings.
On Wednesday night, Holland has a shot to instill even more confidence in his club and manager Ron Washington with a skid-stopping start against the Milwaukee Brewers that could potentially help the Rangers get out of Milwaukee with a split two-game series and get off a two-game losing skid.
Holland, who was one of the game's best pitchers over the second half of the 2011 season, has spent much of his career as a hit-and-miss type pitcher who could be great at times, and horrible at others.
But there are signs of that changing in 2013. Yes, Holland had one rough outing in his six starts — his fourth start of the year in Anaheim after three quality starts to start the season — but other than that he's pretty fantastic.
Other than that start, in which he gave up six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings while taking a no-decision, Holland has gone at least seven innings in every start this season and has already pitched eight innings twice, including in his last start when he worked eight scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and one walk in the Rangers' 7-0 win to open a sweep of the Boston Red Sox.
The four Brewers hitters Holland will face tonight that have faced him in their careers are a combined 1-for-15 against the lefty, so that fares well for Holland, who could take another big step in his maturation process by helping the Rangers stop the bleeding with a big start.