As Spring Training comes to a close, teams can get a better idea of where their players are at both physically and mentally. Spring Training numbers do not usually mean much once the regular season rolls around, however, it never hurts to have a successful preseason as it will give the players more confidence heading into games that actually matter.
And no player needed a bigger confidence boost that Felix Doubront of the Boston Red Sox.
Doubront had been absolutely slammed in his two starts leading up to his Spring Training finale against the Minnesota Twins earlier today and desperately needed a rebound game heading into the real season. He had been roughed up for seven runs over 3.2 innings of work on March 18 and was not any better as he surrendered eight runs over 4.1 innings in his following start on March 25.
Needless to say, there would be a lot of concerns for Boston heading into the regular season if Doubront threw another clunker to close out Spring Training.
But he was able to rise above his past dreadful starts with easily his best performance of the spring. Doubront was able to have his longest start by going five shutout innings and also struck out seven batters over that stretch. Allowing zero runs was pretty impressive because he did allow a total of nine base-runners during his start. Owning a WHIP of almost 2.00 almost always equates in runs and while Doubront allowed way too many hitters to reach the base paths, he did do a great job of keeping them off the scoreboard.
Doubront will not be looked to as the ace of the Red Sox staff this year, but there is no way they can afford to have him be as ineffective as he was in his previous starts. If he can build off of this last start, then Boston can look to him as a reliable arm toward the end of their rotation.
Confidence and momentum are key components to a baseball player’s success, and Doubront might have the most of them heading into the 2014 season.