Matt Harrison still struggling vs. lefties

August, 24, 2011
8/24/11
10:42
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Matt Harrison knew as he threw warmup pitches in the Rangers bullpen prior to Wednesday's game that his fastball didn't have the life it needed. Things didn't get better when he got on the mound.

Harrison didn't blame the wind, which was blowing like crazy, or the fact that the temperature dropped 16 degrees in the first inning from 104 at first pitch to 88 by the time the second inning started.

"I put us in a big hole in that first inning," Harrison said. "I felt like I didn't really have much coming out of my hand tonight with the fastball and the breaking balls early in the game were missing out over the plate and that put us in a hole, especially with Beckett pitching. I feel like I lost the game for us early."

Harrison came into the game with surprising splits for a left-handed pitcher. It's the left-handed batters that have hurt him all year. They were hitting .289 against him coming into the game and went 4-for-4 in the first inning. In fact, the left-handed hitters -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz and Carl Crawford -- went 6-for-10 off Harrison on Wednesday.

"I definitely have to do a better job of getting lefties out," Harrison said. "That's been my downfall all year. I have to keep working and keep trying to figure something out to keep them off the bases."

Harrison's velocity was down, spotting between 88 and 91 mph on his fastball. He said he does not believe it was fatigue and said he felt good on the mound.

"In my last start the fastball was good, and tonight it wasn't there," Harrison said. "I just have to keep doing my routine and maybe it was just one of those games. I don't know how to explain it."

With the fastball not working and the breaking stuff staying in the zone too long, Harrison went almost exclusively to his two-seamer in the final three innings. He allowed two runs in that stretch and pitched a little better, but could only give his team five innings.

"At least the two-seamer had some movement. The four-seamer felt like 'doo-doo' coming out of my hands," Harrison said. "I was just trying to keep them down in the zone and hopefully get some ground balls."

The Red Sox ended up pounding out 11 hits in scoring their seven runs against Harrison. He had one walk and four strikeouts and needed 93 pitches to get through five. He's now winless in his last three starts and hasn't pitched more than 5 1/3 innings in any of them.

Manager Ron Washington said he's not concerned, except for the fact that Harrison is struggling to keep the ball in the strike zone.

"You go through it," Washington said. "He's done a good job, he just may have hit a spell right now. But he's healthy and we'll keep giving him the ball."

Other notes:

* David Ortiz slid into home plate in the first as Mike Napoli bobbled the throw, which was on one bounce from Omar Quintanilla. Ortiz's reaction: "He felt the earthquake coming in."

* Rangers starters have now posted an 8.14 ERA over the past four outings, allowing 19 runs (all earned) in 21 innings. This was the first time that the Rangers had allowed seven runs in two consecutive starts since 2009.

* The 11-run defeat matches the club's largest of the season.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Yu Darvish
WINS ERA SO IP
10 3.06 182 144
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .327
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 68
RA. Beltre 68
OPSA. Beltre .880
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182