And then there were four. Going into spring training, there was mass chaos as to who was going to fill the voids in the Boston Red Sox rotation, but with just over a week left until Opening Day, we are down to four pitchers for two spots.
Bobby Valentine has made it clear that the remaining contenders for the No. 4 and 5 spots in the Boston starting rotation are Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, Aaron Cook and Felix Doubront, according to ESPN's Gordon Edes.
Of those four starters, it seemed like Bard and Aceves would be the front-runners, but now, Felix Doubront is running away with the title and not only could he be the fifth starter, he could turn out to be Boston's fourth.
Felix Doubront has been one of the most impressive players to come to camp this spring, going 1-0 in four starts with a 2.70 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 16.2 innings of work. Yesterday, he only allowed one run in six innings against the Miami Marlins.
After the game, Boston Globe's Peter Abraham spoke with Doubront's catcher for the outing, Ryan Lavarnway, who only had great things to say about the left-hander.
“There was a certain look in his eye. He wants to not only pitch in the big leagues and not only pitch in the big leagues and not only be successful but be in the Boston Red Sox starting rotation.”
Doubront has only appeared in 23 career major league games spanned over the last two seasons with Boston. He has been used as a starter in the minor leagues, but mainly out of the bullpen when with the Red Sox. Now is his chance to prove that he can start in the majors.
Luckily for Doubront, while he has been lights-out, some of the other contenders have been getting rocked as of late.
Alfredo Aceves allowed nine earned runs on 10 hits in just three innings against the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday and has now given up 10 runs on 15 hits in 12 innings this spring.
Daniel Bard has gotten hit hard in his last two appearances, against the St. Louis Cardinals and the Toronto Blue Jays. Transitioning to a starting pitcher this spring, Bard has allowed 10 runs on 11 hits in 12.2 innings and has walked a concerning 10 batters.
Aaron Cook has pitched pretty well in the three games he's appeared in and could very well send both Aceves and Bard back to the bullpen as he claims the final rotation spot.
If Doubront can keep up his outstanding pitching, could he end up as the No. 4 starter in the Boston starting rotation?