As the 2014 MLB season heats up, the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox are off to a slower start than some may have expected. They come into Tuesday with a 5-8 record, good for fifth in the AL East. While there hasn’t been one solid factor contributing to their slow and inconsistent start, the play of 26-year old Venezuelan lefty Felix Doubront.
In the early weeks of the season, Felix has posted a 1-2 record in three starts, with a 6.75 ERA, 7 walks, 19 hits, 8 strikeouts, all in 14.2 innings pitched.
His most recent start, at the Yankees on April 13th, might have been his best start of the year, despite taking the loss. He went for 6.2 innings, and only gave up three runs. His strikeout numbers were low, at 2, and still continued to struggle with opponents making contact with the bat, allowing 7 hits. His previous start, however, is what brings up the worry of him being a reliable starter; 2.2 innings pitched, 6 hits, 5 runs, and 3 walks.Not to say that Doubront hasn’t been hurt by the Red Sox general lack of run support, but he hasn’t exactly done a whole lot to give himself a fighting chance.
Could he be just getting off to a slow start? Quite possibly. But when you look at Doubront’s career as a whole (25-20, 62 games started, 4.70 ERA) you have to wonder, maybe Felix isn’t the reliable starter everyone thought he could be? His best season as a starter would have to be 2013, where he flashed an 11-6 record and a 4.32 ERA. You could make the case that, with a 4.32 ERA, if the Red Sox hadn’t been scoring as many runs as they were, Felix’s record would be worse than 11-6.
Now I don’t think there’s anyone who expected Felix Doubront to be a top of the rotation kind of guy, but I think it’s safe to say the Sox were relying on him to be a consistent back of the rotation starter, and a 4.32 ERA is average at best. Doubront is making roughly $586,000 this season, so there isn’t a huge financial need to keep him around per say.
At the age of 26, Doubront’s period to grow and develop is closing, and if he can’t turn around his rocky start soon, it may be time to look in different, younger directions (example: Brandon Workman, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster)