Home > Game Recaps, MLB > Red Sox Game 162 recap: No one but Matt Thornton cares

Red Sox Game 162 recap: No one but Matt Thornton cares

Highest WPA: Mike Carp, .251 (2-5, 2B, RBI)
Lowest WPA: Felix Doubront, -.572 (1 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)

As the blog’s Felix Doubront fan, I’ll go ahead and say it: I’m not liking the idea of him in the playoff bullpen. He’s a better-than-average starter, and in theory, that should make him a better-than-better-than-average reliever. But in execution? He was bad in his one relief appearance earlier in the year, he’s said he doesn’t want to relieve, and he was awful today. I don’t think it’s an issue of pitching talent, but it seems clear that he’s not inclined to make the adjustment to relieving, and having him transition in the playoffs would be a foolish risk to take.

That’s not to say the alternative has looked dominant, but… I’ll take Matt Thornton’s established career as a good reliever over the theoretical ability of any starter to succeed out of the pen and belief that Doubront’s failures have been flukes.

So while we’re here, my postseason roster:
Catchers (3): Saltalamacchia, Ross, Lavarnway. The final roster spot is either a third catcher or a seventh reliever. If you can’t make it through 5 games with ten pitchers, you’re probably still screwed with 11.
Infielders (6): Napoli, Pedroia, Drew, Middlebrooks, Carp, Bogaerts. If you’re not taking Xander, you’re not only planning to start Drew against lefties, but you’re either going without a backup away from first or you’re taking a guy with no realistic chance of contributing on offense. The rookie needs to be on the roster, and in my mind ought to be getting some starts, either at third or platooning with Drew.
Outfielders (5. Also Mike Carp is versatile): Nava, Ellsbury, Victorino, Gomes, Berry. Jackie Bradley didn’t play his way into consideration, while Berry offers pinch-running abilities that we’ve seen lacking this season (anybody want to see a Nava debacle on the basepaths in the playoffs?). It sounds like John Farrell appreciates having that option as well.
David Ortiz (1): My depth charts always forget the DH.
Starters (4): Lester, Lackey, Buchholz, Peavy. The 2-3 could go in either order depending on my mood, and Peavy’s career suggests he’s better than the averageish 10 starts he’s given the Sox, but the big thing is that Lester has earned back the confidence to get the ball on Friday.
Relievers we trust (3): Uehara, Tazawa, Breslow. And I could see the case for this just being Koji.
Relievers we might have to use (3): Thornton, Dempster, Workman. It was this or Drunk Britton. As well as not being as distinctly unlikeable, Workman has more long outings than Britton this year; if Dempster’s there to be the innings sponge for a bad starter, Workman’s the guy you’d stretch in extra innings. I don’t like it, but he’s a little bit less fear-inducing than the likely-injured Franklin Morales.

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  1. September 29, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    I totally agree with the playoff roster, which is going to make it really funny when Morales and John McDonald come instead of Thornton and Bogaerts.

    • September 29, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      If John Farrell and Ben Cherington believe deep down that Franklin Morales is 100% healthy and this is just a standard rough patch because relievers are volatile, I don’t hate that. But that feels really, really unlikely to me.

      • September 29, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        Reminder that John Farrell and Ben Cherington believed that Joel Hanrahan was just a super duper acquisition.

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