BALTIMORE — Lefthander Felix Doubront, who had only a slim chance of making the Red Sox postseason roster, Sunday pitched his way into spectator status with a rough outing against the Orioles.
Doubront faced 12 batters and eight of them reached base. He allowed five runs on five hits, two of them doubles, in a game the Red Sox lost, 7-6.
“Lot of pitches on the plate. They bunched some hits together,” manager John Farrell said.
Doubront entered in the fourth, and got through that inning giving up only a walk. But with the Red Sox ahead, 5-0, Doubront allowed five hits and two more walks in the fifth. J.J. Hardy and Nate McLouth had RBI doubles.
Unlike Ryan Dempster, Doubront voiced resistance to the idea of going to the bullpen for the postseason. Then he pitched like he didn’t want to be out there.
“As a reliever, I have to be more prepared,” Doubront said. “It’s not the same [as starting]. You have to do a better job to stretch and warm up quicker. You have to be ready in a few pitches.”
That reticence is an issue for the Sox.
“Felix believes in himself and probably feels like he’s worthy of being a starter, which you would want out of an individual,” Farrell said. “He’s had a solid year for us.
“We want to be sure that if he is in the bullpen for the postseason that not only is he buying into the role, but that this is about the team at this point.”
Farrell hesitated when asked whether Doubront did buy into the idea of a new role.
“Solid,” he finally said. “But he sees himself as a starting pitcher, which I admire.”
Doubront, who turns 26 next month, wore down at the end of last season and again this year.
The Red Sox see that as a conditioning problem. Doubront arrived at spring training in poor shape and that caught up to him.
“That’s where adjustments are already in place and planned for this offseason to hopefully avoid,” Farrell said. “It’s his second time, so we’ve got to look at other things to adjust and to me that is clearly in the offseason.”
Farrell said Doubront needs a “great foundation laid” before spring training. The Red Sox are planning to have a team trainer travel to Venezuela to monitor Doubront’s offseason workouts.
Doubront was 11-6 with a 4.32 ERA over 29 games and 162⅓ innings. The Red Sox believe he is capable of more.
“The talent is there,” Farrell said. “You see more in there. He’s an extremely talented guy and we want to make sure we get the most out of him, for he and for us.”
Lack of Lackey
With nothing left to clinch, the Red Sox decided not to start John Lackey and made it a bullpen game instead with rookie Allen Webster getting the first three innings.
Lackey gave the Red Sox 29 starts and 189⅓ innings his first season back after Tommy John elbow surgery. Farrell saw no reason to add to that before the postseason.
“He felt confident that he could remain sharp with some of the work between now and when we line him up to pitch in the postseason,” the manager said. “A well-deserved couple of extra days of rest.”
The Red Sox have not announced their rotation for the Division Series. But Lackey (10-13, 3.52 ERA) is being lined up for Game 2 given his 2.47 ERA in 13 starts at Fenway Park.
Webster walked the first two batters, Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis, on nine pitches. With one out, Chris Davis fouled off five straight pitches and drew an 11-pitch walk to load the bases.
Webster caught a break when Steve Pearce inexplicably swung at the first pitch he saw and popped to shortstop. Webster then got McLouth to ground into a force at second. Despite throwing 34 pitches, Webster got out of the inning without allowing a run.
From there, he sailed. Webster retired the Orioles in order in the second and third.
A role for Ross
Farrell said that backup catcher David Ross would “absolutely” start some games in the postseason.
“For sure,” the manager said. “David Ross is an outstanding catcher. He’s had a trying year given the amount of time missed with the concussions. But you look back to last year, they’re in a one-game playoff and he started for Atlanta. It’s not like it should be a surprise to anyone that he would get a postseason start.”
Ross would be a candidate to face a lefthander. He is hitting only .216 but is 10 of 37 (.270) with three doubles in 13 games since coming off the disabled list.
Davis left the game in the fourth inning with left wrist strain, the result of a collision with Jacoby Ellsbury at first base.
When Ellsbury tapped a ball in front of the plate, catcher Steve Clevenger made a wild throw to first base. The ball hit Ellsbury, who then veered into Davis.
Davis was checked out by a trainer and took some practice throws on the field before leaving the game. He ended the season with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs.
B Strong Friday
As the Red Sox were wrapping up the season in Baltimore, Dave Mellor and the grounds crew were mowing a “B Strong” logo into the center-field grass at Fenway Park . . . Quintin Berry’s steal of second base in the sixth inning gave the Sox 39 consecutive steals. It’s the longest streak in the majors since at least 1951 . . . Ellsbury’s leadoff homer was the 10th of his career, a team record. Dom DiMaggio and Tommy Harper each had nine . . . The Sox were 8-11 against the Orioles and are 13-24 against Baltimore since the start of 2012 . . . Jarrod Saltalamacchia extended his career-best hit streak to 11 games . . . John McDonald started his first game for the Sox and was 2 for 2 with a walk and a run scored . . . The Sox had 59 hits in their last four games.