Auditioning for 'pen role, Doubront roughed up
BALTIMORE -- From a pure talent standpoint, Felix Doubront probably has the best stuff of any of the lefties who are vying for a spot on the Red Sox's postseason roster.
However, Doubront admittedly thinks that going to the bullpen after pitching in the rotation would be a challenge. At this point, there's no certainty -- let alone a likelihood -- that Doubront will be on Boston's 25-man roster for the American League Division Series.
In Sunday afternoon's 7-6 loss to the Orioles, the lefty didn't make a convincing case, giving up five hits, five runs and three walks over just 1 1/3 innings.
Doubront was asked point-blank after the game if he felt he could help the team in the postseason.
"As a starter," Doubront said. "As a reliever, I have to be more prepared for that, for those situations. As a starter, I can do everything there and help the team. I think I can do that."
There's no starting openings for the Red Sox, as Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy are likely to pitch in the ALDS. Doubront and Ryan Dempster are the odd men out after pitching in the rotation all year.
However, Dempster has been receptive to the switch and has turned in three scoreless outings over the last week.
Doubront almost sounds like a fish out of water when talking about life as a reliever. The southpaw said he will try to gain more comfort during team workouts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Red Sox open the postseason on Friday at Fenway Park.
"It's not the same, man. It's not the same," Doubront said of relief. "You have to warm up, you have to stretch, you have to warm up quicker, you have to be ready in 10-20 pitches. As a starter, you stretch, run a little bit, long toss. I can do it. I can do it. But today was my first time, you know? I have to practice that more on Tuesday, be more quick and get my arm ready."
Manager John Farrell said he needs to make sure Doubront is mentally ready for the transition of moving from the rotation to the bullpen if he's going to be part of the team's plans in October.
"Felix believes in himself. He only feels like he's worthy of being a starter, which you want out of an individual," Farrell said. "He's had a solid year for us. We want to be sure if he is in the bullpen in the postseason, not only is he buying into the role, but this is about the team at this point, which we try to stress all year long.
"Even more importantly, in the postseason, hey, whatever role you're in, you've got to buy in and contribute however we can to win 11 more games starting Friday."
If Doubront had kept pitching the way he was earlier in the season, he might have had a better shot at landing a spot in the postseason rotation. But for the second year in a row, he was fatigued in the final weeks of the season.
"Well this is his second time, so we've got to look at other things to adjust," said Farrell. "And, to me, that is clearly in the offseason. As much as we talked about what John Lackey did, Felix has got to go through something similar. Not to say a reshaping of the body, but there's got to be a greater foundation laid before Spring Training starts."