Boston HeraldFelix Doubront certainly didn’t help matters last night. The maddeningly inconsistent left-hander followed up his best start of the season by allowing five runs on five hits, including a pair of majestic homers, in four-plus innings against the Toronto Blue Jays.
After throwing 12 consecutive pitches that failed to crack 88 mph, including a flat 83-mph cutter that Melky Cabrera lined for an RBI double in the fifth, Doubront was visited by manager John Farrell and trainer Rick Jameyson and departed with what the Sox termed “left shoulder fatigue.”
Add it all up, and the Red Sox lost their fifth consecutive game, 7-4, in the opener of a three-game series. The Sox fell to 20-24 overall, 10-15 at Fenway Park.
So while they hope to have taken measures to bolster the infield defense by signing Drew to a prorated one-year contract pending a physical exam today, the Red Sox have other problems to address, beginning with an MRI exam today for Doubront.
“Right now I feel fine. During the game, I couldn’t feel my shoulder,” said Doubront, who noted he experienced numbness, not pain, as early as a walk to Dioner Navarro in the second inning. “Weird. It felt weird. I don’t know if my whip or the release point was there. My arm speed wasn’t there. Nothing. I felt nothing.”
While it's not said directly this sounds like the perfect storm to find an "injury" that requires Doubront to shut down for a couple weeks and investigate the options from PAW. If this happens, who do you think the Sox bring up in Doubront's spot?
Ranaudo -- a fellow lefty who is on the same turn as Doubront in Pawtucket. Ranaudo's bb/9 (4.81) is a concern. He's allowed only 3HR in 52.1IP.
Webster -- reportedly made adjustments to his delivery out of ST that has kept him in the strikezone much more often than in the past. As evidence he had five consecutive starts with 2BB or less. His 2.47ERA is obviously attractive as is his ground ball tendencies (5 GB outs to every 4 FB out). He's rarely gone beyond 6IP in PAW. He'd have an extra day's rest if he took Doubront's next turn.
Workman -- His ERA is bit ugly at the point thanks in part to some early outings transitioning back to SP at the start of the season. Otherwise his peripherals look pretty good.
RDLR -- Gave up a season-high 9 hits in his last start but also got his BB under control again (breaking a 4 game run that averaged 4BB/G). He's been hard to hit at AAA (47.1IP/38H).
The biggest drawback to RDLR and Workman is that they're fairly out of synch with Doubront's spot in the rotation. They'd likely require either an abbreviated start or a relief appearance to get in some "regular" work and still have enough in the tank for the next start.
While I'm not sure he'd be my first choice, the time seems right for Webster.