ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 25: Pitcher Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers throws against the New York Yankees on May 25, 2009 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
In the bottom of the seventh inning of Sunday's series-ending win over Boston, Matt Harrison came to a crossroads.
In the top of the seventh, with a 3-0 lead, Harrison let David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis on base and then gave up an RBI to Carl Crawford to pull Boston within two runs, with two runners on and just one out.
That's when the calls likely came out from Rangers fans.
"Good start, Matt, but time to leave, buddy."
Not so fast.
Harrison was left in the game by Ron Washington and given a chance to fight out of his jam.
He went on to get two of his eight strikeouts to end the inning and end what was a great day for the Rangers' No. 3 starter, who had a wonderful spring but has never really panned out too much at the major league level.
Coming into the season, the Rangers' starting rotation was in disarray with Tommy Hunter's terrible spring, which followed his terrible postseason last year. Then it got even shakier when he was shelved for six weeks due to a groin strain in the final spring start.
But Harrison's performance — albeit just one — was promising.
All we've heard throughout the spring is that Harrison has changed his mental approach to the game and is tougher now. On Sunday, he showed it.
There's no doubt the Rangers would like to see a few more seven-inning, one-run allowed starts out of him, but Sunday's effort by Harrison had to put a lot of confidence into his teammates and into Washington.