It is getting close to the time for some changes.
At some point, the Boston Red Sox will have to look at the possibility of moving Felix Doubront to the bullpen and placing Allen Webster into the team’s rotation this month.
After Friday night’s poor start, where once again Doubront left the bullpen shorthanded, an all too familiar refrain for the young lefty this season. Pitching less than four innings puts an immediate strain on the rest of the Red Sox bullpen.
Boston’s great start to the season has obscured the fact that the team has been getting just average starts from Doubront, who stands 3-1 with a 5.67 ERA after last night’s debacle.
The Red Sox already have one pitcher who is likely to need bullpen support during his turn in the rotation (John Lackey) and don’t need to put themselves in a position of having two starters back-to-back give them five inning outings (or less).
Doubront has now made five starts and has only pitched 27 innings. For as much talent as Doubront has, he has yet to put it all together at the major league level for an extended period of time. Granted Doubront is only 25, but his career path that has shown his inconsistency from one level to the next.
All in all, the Red Sox need Doubront needs to start pitching deeper into ballgames by becoming more efficient with his pitches, cutting down his walks and minimizing the amount of base runners that he deals with in an average.
Right now, Webster might provide the Red Sox with more solid starts every five days and that in turn would allow Boston to have Doubront work out of the bullpen, potentially strengthening the Red Sox in both areas.
I would suspect that Doubront will be given another start or two to work his way through this, but he will be on a very short leash, especially in light of the turnaround performances of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz this season.
With the tight competition in the AL East, the Red Sox will need to quickly address any issues that might affect the team long-term.