Could the Texas Rangers have a new stopper in their starting rotation? It might be a tad bit, OK, a lot, early to call Matt Harrison an ace, but he might be the Rangers most solid starting pitcher so far this season after having a really good year last year.
The Rangers were limping into San Francisco after losing three of four games to the horrible Oakland A's and needed a big-time pitching performance on Friday night to save a bullpen at risk of being overworked with Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando set for weekend starts.
Harrison did that, and then some, when he tossed his third career shutout, beating the surging Giants 5-0 and getting the Rangers off on the right foot en route to winning the weekend series by taking two of three at AT&T Park after previously being winless there.
Harrison was fantastic, breaking numerous bats, and only recording one out out of the infield as he threw 111 pitches, allowing five hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
That start took Harrison's record to a club-best 8-4 with an ERA of 3.87, just more than a tenth of a run off Yu Darvish's club-leading mark. Harrison has now won his last four starts while the Rangers have struggled to put together back-to-back wins for the past month and a half. He's seen his ERA drop from 5.21 to its current 3.87 over that same time period and has gone at least 6 2/3 innings in those four starts. He started the season 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA before falling off the ledge a bit in May, but he did that last year too and then was zoned in for much of the rest of the year.
So there you go, folks. Meet your new stopper, Matt Harrison.