The Boston Red Sox need to be concerned about their starting pitcher Felix Doubront. So far in Spring Training, Doubront has shown no signs of the guy that won 11 games and helped the Red Sox win the World Series a season ago. Against the Tampa Bay Rays today, the left-hander struggled on the mound right from the beginning, which is something he’s done all spring.
Tampa Bay jumped on Doubront’s poor execution with his pitches and took full advantage with their bats. The Rays managed to score eight runs off of the young pitcher, which forced Red Sox’ manager John Farrell to pull his starting pitcher much earlier than he intended. Farrell did not want to see this kind of effort out of someone on his starting rotation with Opening Day not too far away. In fact, if anything, the Boston manager wanted to see a lot more improvement from his left-hander after his other outings this spring.
Doubront entered this game with a 6.52 ERA, which is not even close to his 4.32 ERA from a year ago. It may only be Spring Training, but when your ERA is already that high before having a nightmare performance on the mound today to raise it even further, something is wrong. Doubront’s ERA sits an unbelievable 9.64 for the spring, which is just plain awful. He’s throwing a bunch of strikes, which makes you think he has control of his pitches, but his problem is that he can’t keep the ball down.
Against the Rays, he pitched only four innings and a third, giving up 10 hits, eight earned runs, two walks and striking out a surprising six batters. Of those 10 hits he allowed, four of them were doubles and one was a three-run homer by Matt Joyce, which was the final pitch for Doubront before being yanked. It’s obvious that he can still get batters to swing and miss, as evidenced by his strikeouts, but he’s leaving far too many pitches up in the zone and batters are teeing off.
He better fix this problem quickly, too. The Red Sox are not going wait for him to take his time in 2014. The AL East is the strongest division in all of baseball right now, which means Boston can’t afford to dig themselves into a hole if one of their starting pitchers is failing to get the job done. There are plenty of other arms at the Red Sox disposal as well that they would be willing to give a shot before waiting on Doubront to get back into a groove.