BOSTON — Felix Doubront got shelled while pitching out of the bullpen during the Red Sox’ regular-season finale in Baltimore. It wasn’t enough to keep him off Boston’s ALDS roster, though.
Doubront made the cut over fellow left-hander Matt Thornton. Manager John Farrell said before Friday’s Game 1 that the decision ultimately came down to Doubront’s ability to pitch more than one inning in relief.
“His ability to pitch multiple innings for us, if we get into a situation where that’s a rain stoppage, extra innings,” Farrell said. “Also recognizing the year of contribution that he made for us. It came down basically to the ability to go long.”
Doubront had a rollercoaster season, but was very solid for a 15-start stretch from late May until early August. It appears that was enough to override any concerns about Doubront pitching in a role that he’s not quite accustomed to.
The Red Sox ultimately decided that Doubront, who finished the regular season 11-6 with a 4.32 ERA in 29 appearances (27 starts), is a more valuable asset for this series, especially since he gives the team more flexibility with how Ryan Dempster is used.
“With Felix being — I don’t want to just pigeonhole him into being the long guy — but his ability to go long or deeper in terms of a pitch count opens up some flexibility for Dempster,” Farrell said. “We don’t have to hold him back or use him exclusively as an early guy. If we feel like there’s a matchup that’s in our advantage, whether it’s middle innings, late in the game, he’s a possibility in this spot. Felix’s presence on the roster gives more flexibility to Ryan’s usage.
Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. also seemed like a viable option for the Red Sox’ final roster spot, but the decision was made earlier in the week to carry 11 pitchers, thus minimizing Bradley’s chances of making the cut. Outfielder Quintin Berry locked up the final roster spot among position players.