The Red Sox spent part of the final weekend of the regular season figuring out which lefty was going to join the playoff roster as a reliever along with Franklin Morales and Craig Breslow. While the job could have been Felix Doubront's -- he's easily the most talented of the Drake Britton, Matt Thornton, and Doubront trio -- his performance against the Orioles might have pushed him out of contention, according to the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber.
There is more to it than just the five runs in 1-1/3 innings of relief, however. You don't have to read much between the lines to feel like there's something else going on here. Lauber's section on Doubront is titled "Reluctant reliever" and there is mention of Doubront's feelings about relieving immediately. Then, you've got quotes like this from manager John Farrell:
"Felix believes in himself," manager John Farrell said. "He only feels like he's worthy of being a starter."
"We want to be sure if he's in the bullpen in the postseason, not only is he buying into the role, but this is about the team at this point," Farrell said. "In the postseason, whatever role you're in, you've got to buy in and contribute however we can to win 11 more games starting Friday."
Lauber also mentions Doubront's "hesitation" at switching to a relief role. Is Doubront just not interested in moving to relief, or does he truly believe that the Sox are better off utilizing Thornton in a role he's familiar with, rather than throwing Doubront out as a reliever in key situations in October? It's unclear, but it could be a little of both given what we're seeing here.
In his career, Doubront has been a poor reliever, with a 7.76 ERA in 22 games and 26-2/3 innings. He's walked 15 batters in those innings and allowed four homers, as well as a .398 batting average on balls in play: maybe it's for the best that Doubront was honest about his thoughts on relieving, rather than subjecting Boston to anymore of that.
Read more Red Sox:
- Five Red Sox prospects on John Sickels' season-end top 75
- Who do the Red Sox want to face in the ALDS?
- The bobblehead bubble
- Will Middlebrooks' two-homer night shows off his successful new approach
- What to do with Brandon Workman?