Boston Red Sox starter Felix Doubront struggled in spring training, and these difficulties have carried over into the regular season. The left-hander seems right on the verge of losing his spot in the rotation, but may have saved his job for the moment with a quality start against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
Doubront was recently given a vote of confidence by Red Sox manager John Farrell, an act that is typically not a good sign for the recipient of the endorsement. In fact, in many cases it foreshadows a personnel move.
Suffice it to say, there was a tremendous amount of pressure on Doubront to pitch well on Thursday night, and while he was far from dominant, the 26-year-old did enough to keep the Red Sox in the game and actually departed with the lead. However, the Red Sox eventually lost 6-5 to the Rays.
The criteria for a quality start by a pitcher is working a minimum of six innings while allowing three earned runs or less. There are many who feel this standard is not an adequate method of judging the performance of a starting pitcher, but by this definition, Doubront did produce a quality start against the Rays.
Doubront managed to go six innings, allowing four runs, although only three of them were earned. He did give up two long balls, but walked only one batter while striking out five. It was merely an adequate start all things considered, but certainly an improvement on his previous outing in which Doubront lasted only 2.2 innings at home against the New York Yankees.
Despite the fact that Doubront’s ERA is still an alarming 5.70, it appears he is beginning to come around. His two starts before the Yankees debacle were pretty decent, and the lefty still has good stuff. If Doubront can get through six innings per start on a regular basis, the Red Sox will likely exercise some restraint and keep him in the rotation.
Doubront is capable of much more than he has displayed thus far in 2014, so a little patience on the part of the Red Sox could be rewarded later in the season with solid numbers from the back of the rotation.