This season is a bit of a crossroads for Derek Holland.
The 26-year-old lefty is entering his fifth season with the Rangers and is looking to get back to what we saw from the inconsistent starter over the second half of the 2011 season when he was 9-1 and one of the best pitchers in baseball over that stretch.
Holland is starting the fourth game of the Rangers' season but he's in reality the third starter on this team with the stuff to be a solid No. 2 or possibly even an ace if he could put it all together with consistency.
Last season, he regressed and missed a month with shoulder fatigue and stomach illness, putting up a 4.67 ERA with a 12-7 record and threw 175 1/3 innings despite missing the month. He did have a career-best strikeout to walk ratio and cut back on his free passes but also gave up a ton of home runs (32).
We talked a few ago about the X factors for this team heading into the 2013 season with a new-look roster, and Holland was right at the top of the list. If he performs up to his ability and puts together a season like he's capable of throwing out there, it will go a long way in helping the Rangers get back to the postseason for a record fourth straight season.