The Boston Red Sox announced their ALDS roster and there was somewhat of a surprise. Felix Doubront, who looked like he was going to be left off the roster alltogether based on his comments about not wanting to be in the bullpen and his last regular season performance, ended up making the postseason team.
This has to be a bit of a surprise to many fans, but Matt Thornton, who was the competition for that spot, just didn’t pitch all that well since he arrived in Boston this summer. He had given up 22 hits in about 15.1 innings which isn’t very impressive. He also only struck out nine batters. It is somewhat funny that All-Stars Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey, who were injured and missed the rest of the season, were pretty easily replaced. The one guy in the bullpen that Boston lost and never quite got someone back of his caliber was former failed starter and prospect, Andrew Miller, who turned out to be a legitimate power arm out of the pen. Thornton was acquired to fill that void, but he never did.
If Doubront can embrace this role like he says that he has, that could be a great weapon for Boston out of the bullpen. He held lefties to a .247 average this season, and he could play a big role in turning a lineup around. If he is right, he can give Boston a lot of quality innings and perhaps serve as some sort of bridge to get the ball to Koji Uehara. Sometimes a long reliever can be a difference maker in a postseason series. Game 7 in the 2003 ALCS, Mike Mussina of the New York Yankees came in and stopped the Red Sox from getting any more runs. We all know how that game ended. Aaron Boone was the hero, but the Yankees don’t get to that point without the innings of Mussina.
Perhaps Doubront will serve that same sort of role. He always reminded me of Andy Pettitte in terms of his pitching style, and it would be great for Boston if he had the same sort of postseason results.