Nobody expected Texas Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison to be perfect in his spring debut–no starting pitcher ever is–but no one thought he would be as bad as he was. Of course, it was his first start this spring and he only pitched one inning, but he got shelled but he Kansas City Royals in Cactus League play, so one is extremely content right now.
Again, you can’t take too much away from this, but allowing four runs on six hits in one inning is something to write home about, albeit for the wrong reasons. However, Harrison finished the inning on a positive note by striking out Royals center fielder Luis Durango after exceeding his pitch count of 35. So what do we take away from it?
Not much. Harrison was awful during the 2011 playoffs but then incredible during the 2012 MLB regular season. In fact, he was an All-Star after many thought his future in Texas might be in jeopardy, but he laid those concerns to rest by winning 18 of 29 starts with a 3.29 ERA. Although the ratio of game time is the opposite, Harrison’s spring debut was reminiscent of how he became to be the No. 2 starter in the Rangers’ rotation: he struggled at first and then found his groove.
No one knows how Harrison will begin the 2013 regular season after he has a full spring under his belt, but the pressure will be on him to repeat his All-Star performance from 2012. Everyone in Texas is simply overlooking the first two spot in the Rangers’ rotation, assuming Harrison and Yu Darvish–another 2012 All-Star–will be at the top of their respective games again. In fact, the Rangers’ brass is so confident, they’re focused solely on the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 spots, with the latter receiving the most attention. Hopefully for Texas, Harrison will revert back to his strong play once the regular season arrives. Otherwise, this spring debut will become a talking point for a long time to come.