Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 24, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.
Back on Oct. 23, 2011, Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland turned in what many believe to be best performance as a professional.
It's hard to argue that point as the the young lefty, who was Texas' No. 4 starter in that postseason, got his one start in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, and absolutely owned them under the bright lights and the big stage of the Fall Classic to knot the series at two games apiece.
But on Sunday afternoon, Holland turned in his performance 1a when you consider the opponent and what was at stake. Sure, it was only Aug. 4, but the Rangers ended their week Sunday 2 1/2 games out of the AL West race after entering the week with a six-game deficit.
Holland pitched eight innings on Sunday, striking out 10 A's batters and allowed just four hits — all singles. He showed unprecedented positive emotion after a key late-inning-ending strikeout, all after proclaiming his hatred for the A's after the teams met in June.
That might have motivated the A's to hit Holland hard, but it didn't matter, as the Rangers' lefty improved to 5-1 all-time against Oakland and he's now 6-0 in his previous nine road starts.
He's officially become a very solid No. 2 or maybe even a No. 1a behind Yu Darvish, even with the acquisition of Matt Garza. He's now sporting a 9-6 record with a 3.02 ERA.
So yeah, Sunday's game might not have been on the grand scale that that special night back in 2011 was, but with everything considered, that outing has to sit right behind his scoreless gem against the Cardinals as his best outing in recent memory.