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)
There might not have been a more important player for the Texas Rangers in 2013 than starting pitcher Derek Holland.
As we've discussed here before, Holland is possibly the top "X factor" for the Rangers this season as he's trying to establish himself as a top-flight starter in the bigs and live up to his immense talent that we've seen on a wildly inconsistent basis throughout his career.
After a stellar second half of 2011, Holland had an injury-riddled inconsistent 2012 and is now trying to show the Rangers they made a wise decision when they gave him an extension heading into last season.
In his debut last week against the highly touted Los Angeles Angels lineup, Holland shined, giving up two runs over seven innings while striking out five and walking one while getting a no-decision in the Rangers' win.
Today, Holland will see a Rays lineup that was stifled by Nick Tepesch in his big-league debut on Tuesday and kept under wraps by Alexi Ogando on Monday night. An early-season sweep of an AL pennant contender would be a huge confidence boost for not only Holland, but the Rangers as a whole.