All-Star Matt Harrison credits mental coach

Why is left-handed starting pitcher Matt Harrison an American League All-Star? Think about it. He is the AL’s co-leader with 11 wins, and the Texas Rangers are 12-4 on the days that he has started this season. When Harrison thinks about why he is an All-Star, it goes deeper than having a pitching repertoire that has led to successful results.

“I’ve been doing a lot of work with Don Kalkstein on the mental side of the game. He’s gotten me into a better program in-between innings and thoughts on the field. He’s got me more locked in,” Harrison said. “Even though you are going out there with the same stuff, you might not be going out there with the right mentality.”

Harrison was a guest on Rangers Baseball Tonight, the radio pregame show on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network. Harrison credited Kalkstein, who is the Rangers sports psychology consultant. This is his first season with the Rangers, and he also works with the Dallas Mavericks.

Harrison’s greatest mental hurdle in this All-Star first half occurred in late April/early May.

“I think it was not letting ... after my first three starts, those two bad ones ... letting it get to my head and dampening my confidence,” Harrison said of the two-start stretch where he gave up 15 runs (14 earned) and 22 hits in 8 1/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.

Harrison talks about more about making the All-Star team, how his manager and pitching coach informed him of his All-Star status, his season goals, more about the mental side of the game, last year’s World Series and whether he should start the All-Star Game. Listen to the podcast.

Follow Bryan Dolgin on Twitter: @RangersESPN_BD.