The Rangers' 2014 season is a lost cause after four straight years of being serious pennant contenders and two-time winners. So why watch the rest of the season?
Reason: Holland's return
Looking for reasons to watch the Texas Rangers over the second half of the season, even though they're not headed anywhere good? Well, first of all, it's professional baseball. That should be enough. If it's not, the Rangers have some intriguing story lines and one of them is seeing how Derek Holland fairs as he returns to a big-league mound.
Holland, of course, fell down some stairs after tripping over his dog in January and while doing so injured his knee and needed microfracture surgery. At first, the promising lefty was said to be on track to return after the all-star break. Then, he came out and said he'd be back by June 1. Neither will happen, as Holland is set to begin a rehab assignment at the end of the month, meaning he'll be back at some in mid- to late-August, if all goes well.
Holland was projected as the Rangers' No. 2 starter for this season after eclipsing 200 innings in 2013 and putting up some solid numbers and looked to finally be becoming what the Rangers had hoped for he'd be for years. Then, he became the first of dozens of Rangers to suffer injuries this season.
In several scenarios, a team might just rest Holland not risk anything in the Rangers' situation, but the Rangers can't afford to do that with Holland. They need to see what they have in him as they head into the off-season because they will be adding starting pitching in the winter, make no mistake about that. Is Holland still a firm No. 2 behind Yu Darvish? He'll need to answer that question, sooner rather than later.