Rangers right-hander Rich Harden was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday night and took the mound immediately against the Angels. Coming off a six-week stint on the disabled list and entering the outing with a 5.68 ERA and 1.68 WHIP, it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if he got shelled.
But he didn’t. Harden limited the Angels to five hits and one earned run over five innings while racking up three strikeouts and firing 62 of his 88 pitches for strikes. The Rangers won the game 2-1 and the 28-year-old moved to 4-3 on the year. He talked to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Anthony Andro afterward.
“It felt good. It’s been a long wait, just thinking about getting out
there. It’s not a good feeling not being able to pitch and not being
able to help your team out. I really wanted to go out and be aggressive
and put the ball in play.”
Harden had a brutal start to the 2010 season including a 5.68 ERA over five starts in May and a 7.31 ERA over three starts in June. But ask any American League hitter — or just check the stats — and you’ll find that Harden is regarded as one of the nastiest starters in the game. He employs a fastball-changeup combination that can be lethal and his 9.21 career strikeouts-per-nine innings rate is exceptional. He’s going to play a major role for the playoff-bound Rangers down the stretch, and possibly into October.