It’s almost time for Chapter 4 in the Matt Harrison story of 2011, and there’s another twist in the plot. Harrison’s teammates tonight will face Angels starter Jered Weaver (4-0, 1.30 ERA), making this a matchup of two unbeaten pitchers in the rubber game of this series.
In his first start of the season, Harrison (3-0, 1.23 ERA) struck out eight in seven innings for the win against the Boston Red Sox in Arlington. Then, Harrison worked two-hit ball in seven innings at Baltimore. In his third start, many wondered how Harrison would handle the New York Yankees, but he allowed just two runs (one earned) over eight innings at Yankee Stadium for his third win.
“Pitching in that ballpark with their fans, against their lineup and being able to pitch eight innings tells me a lot about myself that I can go out there and pitch against anybody,” Harrison said. “Just got to keep that confidence level and not get over-confident and carry it into [Wednesday’s] start.”
Harrison’s pace on the mound has been a major reason as to why he has maintained this winning rate.
“Here and there a few times I’ve gotten a little rushed in my delivery, but it’s more out of the stretch though. I feel good out of my wind-up. If I maintain that rhythm, it’s going to be good things.”
Speaking of good things, it’s more enjoyable to remember the Rangers' win Monday rather than what happened last night. Harrison watched intently as fellow lefty C.J. Wilson picked up the win in the series opener.
“Just attack them,” Harrison said of the way C.J. went about his business against the Angels. “It seems like they were trying to see him early. Most of the [Angels] took a pitch. Then, second or third time around, they were swinging the bats a little more. I just need to stay aggressive, make it be a consequence for them taking a pitch. It’s a matter of making your pitches and keeping the ball down.”
Weaver is facing the Rangers for the 21st time in his career. Last season, the strikeout machine faced the Rangers six times, posted a 3-1 record and a 3.52 ERA. Both teams are 11-6 to begin 2011.
The tale of these two pitchers can be heard on Rangers Insider beginning at 6 p.m. on ESPN 103.3 FM.