Texas Rangers' Derek Holland Among Hottest Pitchers in Baseball

Micah PowellCorrespondent IIIJuly 30, 2011

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 30:  Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch during MLB action against the Toronto Blue Jays  at the Rogers Centre July 30, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

Derek Holland cruised to his fourth complete game shutout of the year when the Texas Rangers defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 Saturday. The win vaulted Holland as the American League leader in complete game shutouts, passing Tampa Bay's James Shields. It also tied him with former Ranger Cliff Lee for the major league lead.

It seems as if we have heard about Derek Holland's potential for years but the young southpaw is finally starting to realize his immense talent. Four of his last five starts have resulted in no runs for the opponents.

He rattled off back-to-back complete game shutouts against the Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners and then went six innings against the Minnesota Twins allowing only four hits before leaving with an 18-1 lead. The only hiccup was a game against the Angels in which he was roughed up in five innings.

This last start might be the one that is the most impressive. On a sunny afternoon, Holland threw less than 100 pitches, allowing four hits, a walk and striking out five. And one of those hits was an in-field pop-up that first baseman Michael Young lost in the sun.

Holland has been inconsistent though. Despite being tied for the major league lead in shutouts, he still owns an ERA well north of four and has an WHIP of 1.44.

However, it seems as if Holland is figuring it out. In the last five games, Holland has an ERA of 1.84 and has only allowed more than five hits once.

I wrote a few weeks ago that Holland was one of the most important Texas Rangers for their second half success, and he has yet to disappoint. He was a big factor in the Rangers 12-game win streak and is now settling into a role that the Rangers need him to perform well in.

With consistent results like these, the ceiling for Derek Holland's potential is growing higher and higher. He continues to show why the Rangers brass is so reluctant to include the pitcher in any deadline deal.

Whether his role in October is starter or reliever, Holland is showing the consistency that the Rangers need for a deep postseason run.