Perhaps lost in yesterday’s HR explosion from Texas Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre was just how well Matt Harrison pitched. In fact, his 9 strikeout performance against the Tampa Bay Rays gives him a 34.6% strikeout per plate appearance rate for the playoffs, leading all pitchers through Tuesday's games.
Harrison held the Rays to five hits and two walks through five innings on Tuesday, allowing two earned runs. He struck out seven of the 16 right handed hitters he faced.
During the regular season, Harrison actually did slightly better against righties than lefties, holding them to a .293 wOBA, 23 points lower than opposing lefties. When he did get hit by RHB, it was mostly on pitches in, as you can see from the following heat map:
Yesterday, Harrison made sure to keep the ball away and as a result he was able to not only limit damage from RHB, but also strike out nine batters in all matching his 2011 game high set against the Mariners on September 18th.