BALTIMORE -- Matt Harrison sounded a little bit like a golfer as he discussed the adjustments he made prior to and during his quality start Monday night in the Rangers' 14-3 win over Baltimore at Camden Yards.
"I needed to keep my head still," Harrison said.
Many golfers tell themselves the same thing as they begin to swing, and Harrison needed to remind himself to keep his head still and his eyes on the target. That was something pitching coach Mike Maddux (a good golfer, I might add) discovered as he worked with Harrison in a recent bullpen session. The 26-year-old hurler put it to use Monday and saw results.
"It was a big difference for me tonight," Harrison said. "It worked for me tonight until the last couple of innings when I threw some bad pitches and left them up in the zone and they didn't miss them. Prior to that, everything was down and away when I wanted to throw it down and away and down and in when I wanted to throw it down and in."
Harrison allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings of work to earn the quality start and the win. It ended a two-start skid for Harrison, who gave up eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings in his last start in Toronto and seven runs (six earned) in five innings against Tampa Bay. The Harrison on Monday looked much more like the guy that pitched so well the first three starts of the season. He kept the ball down in the zone, pitched efficiently and stayed out of trouble for the most part.
"My two-seamer was sinking and not cutting over the plate, and also the same thing with my changeup," Harrison said. "I had good movement on it, so I was able to make them put the ball on the ground early in the game."
Manager Ron Washington was pleased with what he saw, especially the fact that Harrison threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 26 batters he faced.
"I felt he did a good job of keeping the ball down," Washington said. "He got ahead. He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. He made pitches and put guys away. He did an excellent job."