Back in 2006, as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, Aaron Harang was one of the elite pitchers in the National League. He led the league with 16 wins, 35 games started and six complete games.
Seven years and three teams later, Harang started 2013 with three straight losses. But he has rebounded to be a solid fourth starter for the Seattle Mariners, albeit hit or miss, flashing signs of his old self.
On April 26, when the Mariners faced the Angels, the 6-foot-7 righty allowed five earned runs in only three innings. However, he bounced back in his next start on May 1 with six innings and five strikeouts.
The same happened late in late May.
Harang gave up seven earned runs in only 3 2/3 innings against the Angels on May 21. This time he rebounded to throw a shutout in his next start, allowing four hits and striking out eight.
So after his worst start of the season on June 6 against the Yankees, in which he allowed six runs in just 2 1/3 innings, it's only natural he would rebound with his best start of the season.
And with 37 percent of your vote on MLB.com, Harang is the June winner of the Pitching Performance of the Month presented by Head & Shoulders for his shutout dominance over the Astros on June 11.
Harang allowed only two hits -- singles in the third and eighth innings by J.D. Martinez -- and struck out 10.
At 35 years and 33 days old, Harang became the fifth-oldest pitcher since 1916 to record a shutout with no more than two hits allowed, at least 10 whiffs and no walks.
"Some days, you go out there and feel great and can throw any pitch whenever you want in a count, and other days you just pray you can throw one pitch for a strike," Harang said. "When you can throw any pitch for strikes and get ahead early, it makes all the difference in the world."
The performance was Harang's eighth shutout of his career and marks the first year in which Harang has notched multiple shutouts since his breakout season in 2006. Harang beat out three other nominees who were selected at the end of June by an MLB.com editorial panel. Harang was followed in a divided race by Derek Holland of the Rangers (23 percent), A.J. Griffin of the Athletics (18 percent) and R.A. Dickey of the Blue Jays (15 percent).
Harang has been more consistent lately, having allowed only three runs or less and lasting at least five innings in his five starts since his two-hitter.
The Pitching Performance of the Month Award is part of the ongoing "Season of the #Whiff" campaign. In addition to voting for the monthly award, you can be part of the Season of the #Whiff campaign around the clock. See a whiff, tweet a #Whiff to @HSforMen, and you will have a chance to win cool prizes from your favorite team.
Pete Barrett is a contributor to MLB.com.