Matt Harrison done in by one big mistake
July, 22, 2012
By Blair Angulo | ESPNDallas.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The pressure had been on Matt Harrison for the better part of six innings Sunday night. Five leadoff batters had reached base and he had been tagged for seven hits, already two more than he had allowed in a complete-game effort in his previous start. Harrison hadn't dealt with high-tension situations in recent outings and, with the Texas Rangers trailing by a run and opposing pitcher Dan Haren out of the game, he didn't want another stressful inning, especially with No. 9 batter Bobby Wilson in the box to start the seventh.
The left-hander missed on his first two pitches to Wilson and, in an effort to avoid more drama, tossed in an easy fastball.
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireMatt Harrison's night came to an end after he have up a leadoff home run to Bobby Wilson in the seventh.
"My biggest mistake," Harrison said of Wilson's home run, the catcher's first in nearly a year.
The Angels went up 4-2, Harrison was pulled from the game and the Rangers eventually fell, 7-4, and lost two of three to the Los Angeles Angels.
"I kind of dropped my guard," said Harrison, who lost for only the second time in his last 11 starts.
Manager Ron Washington thought Harrison pitched well given that he seemingly had at least one runner on base any time he toed the rubber. The four earned runs were the most Harrison (12-5) has surrendered since May 12 against these same Angels -- a span of 13 starts.
"He kept us in the ballgame," Washington said. "We just couldn't shut it down in the bullpen."
Alexi Ogando, who struck out two in a scoreless inning Saturday, came in for Harrison and got Mike Trout to fly out, the only time the 20-year-old rookie didn't reach base Sunday.
Then it all fell apart.
Torii Hunter singled, Albert Pujols homered and Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick each singled before Washington made a change. The Angels stretched their lead to 6-2 in the seventh inning.
"He'll figure it out," Washington said of Ogando.
Harrison said he had good movement on his pitches and, even though he was coming off two consecutive complete games, fatigue was not an issue.
It was a mental lapse that did him in.
"Some frustrating parts to it, but it was just one of those games," Harrison said. "I had to battle the whole game. Hopefully I'll go out next time and get better."