Harrison gets in Game 1 as rotation unsettled

Harrison gets in Game 1 as rotation unsettled

Harrison gets in Game 1 as rotation unsettled
ARLINGTON -- Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison are starting for the Rangers when the American League Division Series moves to Tampa Bay on Monday and Tuesday. But manager Ron Washington has yet to announce who will start Game 3 and who will pitch Game 4.

Right now, the Rangers are expecting to start Lewis in Game 3 and Harrison in Game 4, although that hasn't been finalized. The Rays were 31-19 with a left-hander on the mound for the opposing team and 60-52 with a right-hander this year.

"We haven't talked to them yet," Washington said.

Pitching Lewis in Game 3 would keep the Rays from facing three left-handers in a row. Lewis was also 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four playoff starts last season. He threw eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field on June 1.

Harrison will be making his first playoff start, although he got his first playoff appearance under his belt on Friday, in a 9-0 Texas loss. Harrison essentially took his side session a day early, with the added benefit of seeing just what postseason baseball is all about.

The left-hander threw 15 pitches and recorded two outs in Friday's ninth, letting up one run on one hit and one walk.

"They told me, throw a sider tomorrow, or get an inning today," Harrison said. "It was better for me to probably do it today, to get work in and also give me playoff feel. I didn't get it last year."

"Just get him going. Get him a chance to see what it's like out there, the atmosphere," Washington said of the decision to pitch Harrison. "Today was his side day, and we just wanted him to throw between 10 and 15 pitches. ... Get him a feel of what it's going to be like."

The experience behind him, the 26-year-old Harrison didn't try to downplay the feeling of October baseball as routine.

"It was different from a normal game," he said. "It's a packed house, I know what's at stake right now. It's a little more adrenaline rush than normal, and I'm sure it'll be even more to start the game, but it was good to go out there and get a couple pitches out of the way."

Harrison's only appearance against the Rays this season was two scoreless innings in relief on Aug. 31. He has made just one start in his career against the Rays and it was also eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory on Aug. 16, 2008, at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Left-hander Derek Holland will start Game 2 on Saturday.