Matt Harrison staying healthy and consistent
Harrison ended up 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA but didn't find his form in the postseason. He was 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five games (four starts). That included starting Game 7 of the World Series.
But this 2012 Harrison is different. He's fully healthy and despite not thinking he needs a break, the club is still going to utilize the next off day to get him some time.
"(I feel) a lot better right now," Harrison said. "Last year I had a little bit of fatigue in August. I’ve got my legs back under me. I’m used to it. This year it definitely isn’t as hot as it was last year. I’m doing a little extra stuff to make sure I’m staying fresh. I’m feeling good right now."
Harrison is the main anchor of the rotation that manager Ron Washington is counting on down the stretch, much like he did with Cliff Lee in 2010 and C.J. Wilson last year.
"He’s a horse right now," Washington said. "He’s a big kid. He’s strong. He has impeccable work ethic, keeping his legs in great shape and keeping his mind in great shape. The one thing that’s different about Harrison this year that wasn’t there in the past, he doesn’t keep anything on his mind anymore. If something’s bugging him, he’ll talk about it. He gets it off his chest. That takes a load off. Every day you show up at the ballpark, you’re clear."
Washington said he sees a maturity too with Harrison, whose game and attitude continues to grow.
"He understands the long grind of a season because he’s been through it," Washington said. "Being through that grind of a long season, he’s had to take time off. This year his mindset was that he wasn’t taking time off. So what he does now, and does very well, is he paces himself out there.
"For me, that’s the key – maturity and learning how to pace himself. I’m not saying he’s that, through pacing, he’s not leaving everything he has out there each and every inning. He’s learning how to use what he has and get the best of it, which doesn’t wear you down as much. It’s not wasting pitches. He’s really not wasting pitches. One time I saw waste pitches in Kansas City, and then he got back in a groove. Other than that, he’s not wasting pitches."
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