CHICAGO -- Derek Holland was 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 2011 and pitched a shutout against the Cardinals in the World Series. His 2012 season was derailed by a stomach virus that put him on the disabled list for five weeks but he still won 12 games.
Now Holland is 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA after his first three starts of 2012, and manager Ron Washington said the 26-year-old left-hander is much better than he was even two years ago when he dominated the Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series.
"Derek is certainly proving not only to us but to himself that he can be consistent," Washington said, "That's something that he thought about over the winter, to be prepared to do just that. It's nice to see him out there using all his pitches and throwing them for strikes. His breaking ball has much more depth and he has brought his breaking ball back into play. For the first few years, it was his bread and butter and he got away from it. He's not leaving his fastball over, he's putting it where he wants to.
"He's competing and he's executing his pitches a lot better. I'm not going to say he won't leave some over the plate or hang a breaking ball. But he's able to execute and commit. He's much better to me. He's a more polished pitcher than he was when was 16. His stuff is consistent and has been consistent since Day 1 of Spring Training."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.