Could Felix Doubront be X-factor in ALCS?

October 12, 2013 - 12:55 pm

The heart of Detroit's lineup is little short of ferocious. The trio of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and the scorching hot Victor Martinez is enough to inflict heart palpitations on nearly any pitcher. But there is one Red Sox hurler who has mowed through that formidable trio: Felix Doubront. The left-hander doesn't have a ton of exposure to the Tigers, but his performance against those three hitters bears notice: vs. Cabrera: 1-for-6, double, 2 strikeouts, no walks vs. Fielder: 0-for-6, 1 strikeout, no walks vs. Martinez: 0-for-3 That's a combined 1-for-15 -- the sort of success that few pitchers have experienced against the group. "It's [manager John Farrell's] decision. I'm waiting for the opportunity to come out and pitch," Doubront suggested agreeably. "I don't know if that's going to be the situation -- one hitter, one inning. I'm just there, waiting." Doubront has known fellow Venezuelans Cabrera and Martinez since he was a 16-year-old hanging around the Venezuelan Winter League. He knows Martinez particularly well, given that the two were teammates with the Sox when Doubront made his major league debut in 2010. "I've enjoyed pitching to them," said Doubront. "It's fun. It's a challenge. Knowing those guys as friends, you always want to get them out some way, somehow." Farrell suggested that depending on the game situation and which relievers had been used, it's possible that he could envision a different role for Doubront in the ALCS than the long relief role for which he was earmarked (and in which he didn't pitch in any game) in the ALDS. "[Doubront is] going to be factored upon if we'€™ve already used guys in a certain point of the game and we feel like a left-hander is best suited for a certain spot in the lineup," said Farrell. "He'€™s on the roster. So there isn'€™t going to be hesitancy to use him." Farrell did note that Craig Breslow has enjoyed considerable success against those three, implying that he would be a primary bullpen option for that particular part of the lineup in the middle innings. (For Breslow's view of the challenge involved in facing that group of three, click here.) Here's how other Sox bullpen candidates have done against the threesome (Jake Peavy is included in the group, given that Sox manager John Farrell suggested that he could be a consideration for relief work outside of his scheduled Game 4 start): Doubront: 1-for-15, double, no walks, 3 strikeouts Koji Uehara: 2-for-9, 2 HR (both by Cabrera), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts Craig Breslow: 4-for-17, double, walk, 4 strikeouts Junichi Tazawa: 1-for-3, HBP, 2 strikeouts (all four appearances against Cabrera) Brandon Workman: 0-for-2, 0 strikeouts, 0 walks (one plate appearance each against Cabrera and Fielder) Franklin Morales: 3-for-10, double, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts Ryan Dempster: 16-for-56, 4 HR (all by Fielder) .286/.386/.589, 10 walks (four intentional), 16 strikeouts Jake Peavy: 25-for-88, 4 HR (3 by Cabrera, 1 by Martinez), .284/.330/.477, 6 walks, 25 strikeouts