Holland Outing All Kinds of Encouraging

Derek Holland was supposed to start for the Texas Rangers on April 1 as the team's unquestioned No. 2 starter, so it's a bit appropriate that never happened on April Fool's Day because the lefty tripped over his dog and fell down some stairs a few months earlier.

But finally — FINALLY — on Sept. 2, Holland made his season debut with the Rangers. Don't even pay attention to the fact the Rangers lost the game 2-1 to Kansas City because wins and losses ultimately don't matter now. What does matter is that Holland was fantastic.

Go back to the 2011 World Series when Holland put together the finest postseason start in franchise history. That's about what Holland looked like on Tuesday night, having not pitched from a big-league mound in nearly a calendar year.

It was very encouraging for the Rangers and their fans, who haven't had much reason to watch the Rangers lately. But Holland gave them a pretty big one to tune in on Wednesday night, and again next week in Arlington when the Angels come to town.

If Holland can build on that outing and be consistent over these five starts or so before the Rangers' season is put out of its misery, it's a great sign moving forward to 2015. He's been saying he's ready to pitch again for a while now, and he made the most of his chance on Tuesday night, giving up just one run in seven innings while fanning six and walking zero on 105 pitches. It was a thing of beauty.

Next season, Holland will, worst-case, open the season as the team's No. 2 starter again with Yu Darvish fronting the rotation. But there seems to be a lot of traction to the idea the Rangers are going to throw a lot of money at a top-notch starter this winter, perhaps someone like Jon Lester, to pair with Darvish atop the rotation. Holland, in his Tuesday form, would be a wonderful No. 3 starter.

The Rangers and their fans haven't had much to smile about lately, but Tuesday's start in a game they ended up losing, was definitely one of those things you like to see.

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