Newly named All-Star Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for June. This is Harrison’s first career monthly honor and the fourth for the Rangers this season after outfielder Josh Hamilton was voted the Budweiser Presents the A.L. Player of the Month for April and May and rookie starter Yu Darvish claimed the A.L. Rookie of the Month in April.
Harrison compiled a perfect 5-0 record with one shutout, a 1.29 ERA, 10 walks and 24 strikeouts in 42.0 innings pitched over six starts. Among qualifying pitchers, the 26-year-old finished tied for first in the A.L. in wins, was second in ERA and was third in innings pitched. Opponents batted just .224 off of the left-hander during the month.
After picking up a victory in a 7-3 Rangers triumph over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 3rd, the fifth-year veteran returned on June 8th and hurled his first shutout of the season as the Rangers topped the San Francisco Giants, 5-0, at AT&T Park. The shutout marked the third of Harrison’s career and his first since the 2009 season. Returning home for a June 13th start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the third round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft (by Atlanta) permitted six hits over 7.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts, but did not factor in the decision as the Rangers edged the D-backs, 1-0. Despite being held to only 5.0 innings in an injury-shortened start on June 24th against the Colorado Rockies, the Durham, North Carolina native kept the Rangers in the game allowing just five hits and striking out three in an eventual 4-2 Texas victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Matt became the first Rangers pitcher since Derek Holland in 2010 to get credited with a win after pitching exactly 5.0 scoreless innings. In his final start of the month on June 29th, Harrison allowed a pair of runs on eight hits and struck out seven in 8.0 innings to lead the Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics in Arlington. Harrison (11-3) has won seven straight decisions dating back to May 22nd, and became the first Texas pitcher with 11 victories before the All-Star break since Kenny Rogers (12 wins) in 2004. He is just the ninth Rangers pitcher in Club history to reach the 11-win mark prior to the All-Star break. Harrison, who was named a 2012 A.L. All-Star on Sunday, tied a Texas record with five wins in June and his 7-0 record with a 1.42 ERA in his last eight starts make him the first Rangers pitcher since Rogers in 2005 (8-0, 0.92 ERA) to notch at least seven victories with an ERA that low over an eight-start span. Others receiving votes included New York’s Hiroki Kuroda (4-1, 1.98 ERA, 41.0 IP, 43 K); Chicago’s Chris Sale (3-0, 2.15 ERA, 1 CG, 37.2 IP, 33 K); and Boston’s Clay Buchholz (4-0, 2.40, 1 SHO, 30.0 IP, 25 K).
In recognition for his American League Pitcher of the Month Award, Matt Harrison will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.