Kyle Harrison

After first taste of MLB, Harrison ready for offseason work with Webb

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SAN FRANCISCO -- A month ago, when Kyle Harrison followed Alex Cobb's one-hitter with a spectacular home debut, it wasn't hard to picture the rookie left-hander starting Game 3 of a playoff series for the Giants. Those 48 hours turned out to be the high point of the second half. 

Harrison's final 2023 appearance did occur in October, but it was because he got the final game of a disappointing regular season for the Giants. For five innings, though, he provided one hell of a silver lining, capping a dramatic week at Oracle Park with a glimpse of the future

The 22-year-old faced 20 Los Angeles Dodgers and didn't allow a hit on Sunday. He plunked three of them, but ruffling some feathers in the Dodgers' dugout isn't exactly a bad way to endear yourself to the Giants' fan base. 

"It was a weird day. I felt like I had the stuff today, but I had a couple of pitches get away from me," Harrison said after the game. "It obviously wasn't intentional -- you're not trying to hit anyone out there. I just got competing a little bit too hard and had some pitches run away from me, but at the end of the day I think I was pretty successful getting ahead of guys and just attacking the zone."

Harrison had an up-and-down September, but he capped his first stretch in the big leagues by allowing just two runs and three hits over 10 1/3 innings against one of the game's best lineups. Asked what he had taken away from the last month, he repeatedly pointed to how much he learned. That was evident on Sunday.

J.D. Martinez took Harrison deep at Dodger Stadium in the rookie's second-to-last start, hammering an outside fastball into the seats in right. Harrison threw Martinez just three fastballs in two at-bats Sunday, getting a fly ball to left on a slider in the first inning and then striking Martinez out with a good changeup in the fourth.

"I learned a lot in my last outing in L.A.," Harrison said. "I really wanted to go out there and have a plan for these guys. I thought I executed my game plan pretty well."

Harrison rode a dominant fastball in his first two outings in the big leagues, throwing it about 70 percent of the time. He was much closer to 50-50 over his last two outings, and on Sunday he threw his changeup 15 times, getting 12 strikes, including that strikeout of Martinez. 

The changeup is a pitch the Giants believe can be elite over time, and Harrison plans to work on filling out his full four-pitch arsenal this offseason. That's not his immediate focus, though. 

"The main thing is I want to get stronger and built up," he said. "I want to be like Webby, going out there six innings at a time and building up to 200 innings. I'm really just going to pound the weight room."

That work will be done alongside Logan Webb, who has become a close friend and mentor. Harrison plans to work out with Webb in the offseason at a facility in the Phoenix area, and he also has considered visiting Driveline Baseball, which was an Alex Cobb recommendation. 

The Giants are heading into a crucial offseason, but even with all that's swirling around them, team officials smile when they think of their two young arms getting after it all winter. The goal for a couple of years has been to pair Webb and Harrison atop the rotation, and the young left-hander's first seven starts in the big leagues and the way he carried himself behind the scenes left little doubt that he's built with the same mindset and edge as the team's ace. 

It originally was supposed to be Webb who took the ball on Brandon Crawford's final day in orange and black, but when the Giants and Webb decided to shut it down after his complete game, Harrison got the assignment. It was an appropriate choice, and possibly a passing of the torch.

Harrison grew up about 30 minutes from Crawford's childhood home and said "B-Craw was a name that stuck out" when he was a young child dreaming of playing in the big leagues one day. Crawford changed Harrison's warm-up song to "Yay Area" by E-40 for the finale, and said afterward that he took some time out of a busy day to find Harrison. 

"It was awesome. I went up to him a couple times and just said, 'Hell of a job.' " Crawford said. "That's a great lineup that he no-hit through five. [There were three] hit-by-pitches, but being able to go through that lineup a couple of times and not give up any hits is pretty impressive."

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