Motivation comes in many forms for Derek Holland.

He looks a few lockers to his left during a homestand and sees Matt Harrison, a fellow left-hander who has won 32 games the past two seasons and had developed into the Texas Rangers’ most dependable starter entering the season.

Holland is also a self-motivator, who wants to be the best pitcher on his team and in the league and realize the high expectations heaped upon him as he rose through the minors and after he won 16 games in 2011.

And he hears the voices of his critics, who say that he’s too caught up in outside distractions or creates his own distractions by being who he is.

It’s still early, as players and managers like to say, but Holland has poured all that motivated him over the off-season into a strong start to his 2013 season.

“It’s only been a few games, but I know I’ve got to continue working,” Holland said. “Criticism always pushes you. Trust me, it does. There’s always going to be someone who says you stink.”

The Rangers and Chicago Cubs were rained out Wednesday night, with no makeup date announced, and the forecast for this afternoon’s 1:20 p.m. game also looks like a soaker at Wrigley Field.

They at least got one game in Tuesday, when Holland (1-1) earned his first victory of the season by allowing two hits in seven scoreless innings before his fine work became overshadowed by a wild finish in the Rangers’ 4-2 win.

He struck out six and walked none in becoming the only pitcher in the rotation to open the season with three consecutive quality starts. His ERA dropped to 1.64, and he has allowed only 13 hits in a team-high 22 innings.

Manager Ron Washington said that Holland threw all of his pitches for strikes, a continuation of his first two starts, and has benefited from better fastball command, more depth on his breaking ball and the rediscovery of his changeup.

It’s not a new pitch. In fact, it was considered his best pitch as he ascended quickly through the minor leagues. But he lost the feel for it as he tinkered with the grip before getting confident with it again.

“I just have a better feel for it,” he said. “It’s nothing major. It’s like I’m just putting on an old pair of shoes.”