Derek Holland stronger, more confident
"It's a good time to get things going," Holland said. "I've had to deal with injuries and just being able to bounce back, recover and get into the swing of things has been huge for me. But I still feel like I've got work to do. This would be a good start, going up against these guys. The next three starts are very important starts."
Holland has turned in five straight quality starts, a stretch that has given him more assurance lately. Is he a better pitcher now than the first two times he faced the Angels, on July 20 and 31, when he surrendered 12 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings? That's not really a question.
"I've gotten a lot more stronger," Holland said. "I've definitely made better pitches the last few starts. I've gotten a lot more confident than the last time they saw me. Stronger, more confident, just overall a better pitcher than I was before."
He credits the improvement to his command of the strike zone and ability to locate out pitches. Holland (10-6, 4.50 ERA) has also gained back, by his estimation, 10 pounds he lost earlier this year while battling a stomach virus.
"I was still recovering from everything, trying to get that weight back," Holland said. "I'm not saying it's going to make a huge difference. I'm not sitting here saying I'm going to come out [Wednesday] and be lights out, but I feel very confident. I've done my research and stuff, but I've still got to make my pitches."
That he'll be opposed for the first time by former teammate and good friend C.J. Wilson (12-9, 3.73) doesn't add any incentive.
"I'm not worried about C.J. or anything like that. I shouldn't have to be," Holland said. "I don't really worry about them. I think my offense will do what they need to do, and I've got to make sure I do my part."
"He's on the other team, and I want to beat them."
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.