The Texas Rangers were without two of their starting pitchers in 2012, which was a big reason why their season ended in such a disappointing way. Sure, Derek Holland may have physically been on the mound, but he wasn’t himself for whatever reason. Colby Lewis was out after undergoing elbow surgery in July, which really put a lot of pressure on the rest of Texas’ staff. Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison both rose to the occasion, but they couldn’t carry the rotation and that will be the case again in 2013. The Rangers need Lewis to be back to normal health-wise and need Holland to be back to normal in general.
Despite Lewis’ injury, the Rangers made sure he would be back for at least the 2013 season by signing him to a one-year contract extension in September. It’s great that he’ll be back this season, but Texas needs him to be the pitcher he was during the 2010 playoffs when the Rangers made their first World Series trip; they don’t just need another warm body.
Lewis was dynamite in 2010, took a slight step back in 2011 and seemed to be back on track in 2012 until the problems started with his elbow. That 1.71 ERA he posted in the ’10 playoffs was key to Texas’ unlikely run, but the Rangers are no longer an under-the-radar team.
That’s really the main factor regarding Holland, who showed a ton of potential in 2011, especially in the playoffs, and then really let the organization down this past season. Of course, expectations for the young left-hander were sky-high and will be again this year. That hefty new contract he received was supposed to be a reward for becoming a top-notch starter, but he hasn’t shown that he’s earned it yet. That will be key for Texas to make another run at the World Series in 2013.