After seemingly coming out of nowhere last season with an 11-11 record and 3.76 ERA, this season has been quite ugly for Harrell. It was the right move to remove him from the rotation and to give him a chance to work through his troubles in the bullpen. The problem though, is that Harrell really did not start things off on the right foot.
His first emotion was anger. I understand that he had a right to be frustrated, but you need to do a better job of controlling your emotions. Harrell got into a confrontation with Jordan Lyles, and just did not handle the demotion properly. I think that the expectation, was that he would work through his issues in a few weeks, and then return to the rotation to be a solid veteran presence like he was last season.
The problem though, is that things have not gone according to plan.
In his last ten games (including one start against the Orioles where Harrell allowed four runs in 5.1 innings), Harrell’s ERA is 8.78 and he has a 1-6 record. Instead of righting the ship, Harrell has been an absolute butcher in the bullpen. And this is coming from a player who I thought had a chance to be the Opening Day starter this season.
Harrell has provided anything but relief, and has not shown many signs of doing anything for the Astros other than eating innings. I would have liked to see him find his groove in the bullpen and reestablish some value. Instead, it is more likely that he has pitched himself out of Houston’s plans for 2014.