There have been no issues with the top end of the Red Sox’ rotation this year, and that’s what really sparked the club in the season’s first month or so. However, as starters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz start to come back to earth just a little bit, it makes it even more important to get solid contributions from the back end of the rotation and the bullpen.
The Red Sox have struggled to get both as of late, thanks to injury and ineffectiveness.
Don Orsillo addresses that and more in his weekly mailbag.
Don, what is your favorite memory as a Red Sox announcer?
I actually have a new one this season. The first game back at Fenway after the Boston Marathon tragedies. The three-run home run hit by Daniel Nava in the eighth inning vs. Kansas City. Emotions had been running high in the city and at the ballpark that day, and it was such a great moment.
What kind of music do you like?
I am all over the place on music preference. No. 1 for me is Dave Matthews. However, I like James Taylor, Eddie Vedder, Kenny Chesney and classical or opera.
What do you watch on TV besides sports?
I’m a huge Anthony Bourdain fan. I loved No Reservations on the Travel Channel and his new show on CNN. I love to cook, and I love to see the way people cook from all over the world. Otherwise, I like all the CSIs, Criminal Minds, Mob Wives and Larry David.
Do you think the Red Sox are a playoff team?
I did not think so in spring training, but I do now. This team is better and deeper — health willing — than I thought. I think anytime you have two guys as good as Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz at the front of your rotation, you are going to be in good shape. I think that Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew are both going to be hitting better in the near future, and I do think they could be a postseason team.
What do you like most about this Red Sox team?
The guys on the team. This is as likable a team as we have had here in some time. All of the additions have been great character guys who can play on this stage, and I look forward to being around them as a group every day.
Don, how do you feel about the bullpen this year? Do you think they’re doing what they need to do?
I felt better about it a week ago before Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey both were injured. Now everybody has changed roles and innings, and clearly they are not as deep as they were. Hopefully Bailey can return soon, and setup roles can return to some semblance of normalcy.
Will Felix Doubront remain a starter, or will he be in the pen?
–Ricky Kendall via Twitter, @RickyBobbyyyy4
I think he will remain a starter at least for the near future. I think Allen Webster‘s tough outing sort of cemented his spot for now. I think if Webster had been as effective as he was in his first start, the spot could have been his. I think Felix needs to work faster and try to find his velocity again. He has been tough to figure out. His velocity is down, and he is having trouble putting guys away, but by all accounts, he feels healthy.