Lucas Harrell (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Finally, after all this time, baseball is back. On Friday the Houston Astros play their first Spring Training game against the Atlanta Braves, and we are officially on our way.
There will be actual games to follow. A little optimism is allowed. Granted it will likely wane after the first few months, especially if George Springer is still in Oklahoma City and no one can actually watch the games, but for now it doesn’t matter.
But do we really need to start off the 2014 season with Lucas Harrell?
Yes, that is correct, Harrell a pitcher from whom after last season we didn’t think was going to make it to Spring Training in 2014 is starting the first game of the spring season.
Last year was truly an up and down season for Harrell after he burst on to the scene in 2012. The right-hander appeared in 36 games and made 22 starts compiling a 6-17 record with a 5.86 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. I’m not sure how you really can dress up that performance, but in reality it was not as bad as it seemed. Harrell was very inconsistent from start to start and then spent most of the second half in the bullpen. There was also the incident with Jordan Lyles and you are forgiven if you are done with Harrell.
So essentially we have one good year and one bad year from Harrell. So I guess it is understandable why the Astros would at least want to give him a shot this year. It is also important to remember that other than a symbolic gesture, there really is no other meaning to Harrell throwing the first pitch of the spring for Houston.
What we do need to remember is that it is a long season and there is a lot of competition in Kissimmee that will likely follow us to Houston.