There might not be a single player the Texas Rangers are counting on to have a big year in 2013 bigger than Derek Holland, the erratic, inconsistent, yet super-talented and young left-handed pitcher who is entering his fifth year as a big-leaguer.
Holland is slated to be the team's No. 3 pitcher behind Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison and has long been thought of as a guy that had potential ace stuff but has yet to realize that potential with the exception of the second half of 2011 when he was one of the top pitchers in the game from July on and led the American League with four shutouts.
On Sunday, he had a primer in a pressure situation, making the start for Team USA against Canada in an elimination game in the World Baseball Classic, a game Team USA won 9-4 after Holland left the game in a 2-2 tie after battling through five innings of work.
Holland gave up four hits, struck out four and walked one, allowing both of his runs in a problematic second inning when he gave up a leadoff double and a two-run homer before buckling down and stranding a couple of more Canadians on base.
In his two starts for the Rangers this spring, prior to leaving for Team USA, Holland was good, throwing seven innings and allowing just one run with three strikeouts and no walks.