Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Early innings doom Matt Harrison
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's likely that Matt Harrison will get a third crack at the Tampa Bay Rays in about 10 days. And you got the sense he wants another chance to show he can beat them.
For the second time in 2012, the Rays jumped on the left-handed starter. He gave up seven runs on 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings in an 8-4 loss Wednesday. Back in April, the Rays tagged him for seven runs (six earned) on 14 hits in five innings.
"I think they have 26 hits in two games, that's not very good," Harrison said. "They've had my number in two starts this year. I guess I need to make some adjustments. I'll look at these two games and see what went wrong and try to get better at it."
Harrison gave up three runs in the first inning, two of those on a two-run homer by Evan Longoria, who has owned Harrison. In 14 at-bats against him -- regular-season and playoffs -- Longoria is 7-for-13 with three homers and nine RBIs.
"He's definitely better against lefties," Harrison said. "Right now, I'm trying to pitch him away with the hamstring injury and eliminate his power. It was poor execution. I didn't make my pitches and fell behind. The third at-bat, I was able to execute and got weak contact."
Harrison gave up three more runs in the second, as B.J. Upton hit a 1-2, 95-mph fastball out for a three-run homer. Harrison said he had a slight mechanical flaw, saying he wasn't staying over the rubber long enough to give his arm a chance to get on top and throw more downhill. That's something he'll work on during a bullpen session in between starts.
Harrison did manage to pitch better in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but gave up a home run to lead off the sixth to push the Tampa Bay lead back to three runs. He was taken out shortly after that.
The three home runs allowed were a season-high for Harrison and two of his three highest totals in both hits and runs have come against the Rays. Harrison wants to change that trend. Perhaps next weekend he'll get his shot.