Now comes the real test for Matt Harrison: handling failure.
For the first time this season, Harrison struggled Tuesday. In the past, he's put together some nice, if brief, runs for the Rangers. But once he's encountered adversity, he's found no way to recover.
As Toronto was busy pounding the Rangers 10-3 Tuesday, Harrison was responsible for the bulk of the runs. He allowed the first six hitters to reach base -- three of them on walks -- and five runs in the first inning. After a breezy, 10-pitch second inning, the Rangers rallied for three runs to make it a game. Harrison promptly allowed a leadoff homer and three more hits before retiring a batter.
In the end, he gave up eight hits and seven runs in three innings. He had allowed seven runs (six earned) in his first four starts combined.
In 2009, Harrison won four straight games from April 27 through May 14, putting together a 1.80 ERA that was eerily close to the 1.88 ERA he had for the first four starts of this season. In the next outing: nine hits and five runs in five innings. He did not win again for the season. He went on the disabled list twice and eventually had surgery to free a compressed nerve in his arm.
A year ago, he allowed two runs in 13 innings over his first two starts, then a clunker. He lasted just three more starts after that before being transferred to the bullpen for good.
"I think I was immature a couple of years ago," Harrison said. "I think I let one start carry over to the next, and I was still (mad) about the next time out. I don't plan on letting that happen again."
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