ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 31: Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 31, 2012 at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
Last season, in his second full year as a starter, Texas Rangers goofball/starting pitcher was still searching for his first-ever stretch of at least three straight quality starts. Right around the all-star break, he finally got that milestone, and after that he never looked back as he ended up being one of the best pitchers in baseball over the second half of the season and turned in the best postseason start in Rangers history in Game 4 of the World Series.
Through much of 2012, Rangers fans saw the same Holland they'd seen throughout most of his career, not the version that closed the 2011 season like an ace on a mission.
But check this out: In his past three starts, Holland has put up three quality starts and has three victories. In his last 10 starts, he's 5-2 and that doesn't even include a no-decision against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers in what might have been his best start of the season.
So could Holland be starting one of those great streaks again? He'll have a chance to keep building on his three straight wins tonight when he squares off against Jeremy Hellickson and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tampa, where has a career 7.02 ERA.
If the Rangers are going to win another pennant and have a chance to break through and win their first World Series after two unsuccessful tries, Holland is going to have to be a key part of it. He's got about a month to get ready.