With Clay Buchholz activated from the DL to start today’s contest against the Seattle Mariners, the Boston Red Sox had some decisions to make and sending Felix Doubront into the bullpen is just step one in a bigger plan this week.
The 26-year-old has not pitched out of the bullpen since the World Series and has been a starter most of his career, including 10 starts before his two perfect innings against Seattle Tuesday. His season ERA is now at 4.99.
The Red Sox had seven starters for five spots and moving Doubront out of the rotation makes it six pitchers for five rotation spots. Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman will likely be fighting for the final spot unless Buchholz throws an absolute stinker in his return.
Both De La Rosa and Workman have been phenomenal this season with a 2.51 and 2.88 ERA respectively. Both pitchers are a little different in their approach on the mound, but both get the job done at the major league level.
The Red Sox bullpen was in need of another left-handed reliever as Craig Breslow, Chris Capuano and Andrew Miller have all had their struggles. Doubront may not be the long-term solution, but he is a solid pitcher to get the job done until he can fix whatever is going on with his velocity and command.
The team does not have much wiggle room as they find themselves eight games below .500 and seven games out of a playoff spot. So, if the 29-year-old does not get the job done, then it might be time to just let the young guys stay in the rotation until they falter. It all starts and ends with Buchholz’ performance on tonight.