ARLINGTON, Texas --The Texas Rangers celebrate their home opener against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday afternoon, when they send Derek Holland to the mound against Jason Vargas. The game starts at 1:07 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540-AM and FSSW.
LHP Derek Holland (12-7, 4.67 ERA in 2012): Holland looks to bounce back season, and he had a strong spring that should give him momentum going into Friday's start. … Holland was 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA in the Cactus League. ... He had 16 strikeouts and a walk in 17 innings. ... Holland has some positives to draw on from last year, including a career-best strikeouts-to-walks ratio (2.79). ... Holland missed a month last season with shoulder fatigue, but still pitched 175 innings. ... He had a problem with the long ball, giving up 32 home runs, fifth most in the AL. ... Holland represented Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. ... He is 7-5 with a 5.58 ERA in 16 games against the Angels. ... And he beat the Angels twice in September, including going seven innings and allowing two runs in Anaheim.
LHP Jason Vargas (14-11, 3.85 ERA in 2012): Vargas changes teams in the AL West, coming from the Seattle Mariners. … He was traded to the Angels for Kendry Morales. ... Vargas had a rough spring, finishing with a 7.54 ERA. ... The 30-year-old Vargas comes off his best of four seasons in Seattle, winning a career-best 14 games and pitching a career-high 217 1/3 innings. ... It was the second season in a row Vargas has topped 200 innings. ... Vargas allowed 35 home runs last season, tied for the second most in the AL with Phil Hughes. ... Vargas is 4-6 with a 4.68 ERA against the Rangers. ... He is 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA in his last three seasons at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Hitters: Rangers right-handed batters Ian Kinsler (11-for-32, 5 2Bs, 3 RBIs) and Nelson Cruz (7-for-26, 3 HRs, 5 RBIs) have had success when they've connected off of Vargas. ... Albert Pujols (6-for-13, 2 HRs, 3 RBIs), Mike Trout (5-for-14, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs), Mark Trumbo (8-for-25, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs and Alberto Callaspo (11-for-31, 5 2Bs, 4 RBIs) all have given Holland fits.