ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 27: Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers delivers a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 27, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
If there's been a weak link to Matt Harrison this season, it's been early in his starts, as he's struggled at times during the first inning this season as he's now given up 10 first-inning runs in his 14 starts this season. But he usually bounces back, as he did on Monday night after allowing a first-inning run and stranding two more in scoring position before picking up his AL-leading ninth win of the season (tied with Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees).
Harrison is well on pace to pick up 20 wins this season after finishing last year with a career-high 14 victories, and he's been a bit of a stopper for the Rangers' staff this season aside from a rough stretch in May.
He's now won his last six starts and has watched his ERA drop nearly two full runs over that time to its current 3.41 though he did give up his first run since June 3 when he beat the Los Angeles Angels. Since then, he had a complete-game shutout of the San Francisco Giants and went 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in his last start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Not bad for a guy who was once an afterthought in the "Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade" with the Atlanta Braves, when the Rangers shipped Mark Teixeira to Atlanta for Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison.
Now, Harrison is making a case that that could be referred to as the "Matt Harrison trade".