Saltalamacchia: Doubront 'is doing a great job'


Saltalamacchia: Doubront 'is doing a great job'

BOSTON -- Felix Doubront has been one of, if not the most reliable pitcher on the Red Sox staff this season.
It's just his first season as a starting pitcher, but you wouldn't know it if you looked at his now 8-3 record.
Doubront picked up his eighth win of the season on Wednesday night while allowing four runs on nine hits and a home run in six innings. The eight wins is tied with Clay Buchholz for most on the team.
And like Buchholz the night prior -- when he picked up his eighth win of the season -- Doubront was the recipient of some pretty generous run support against the Miami Marlins at Fenway.
Before Clayton Mortensen relieved Doubront of his duties, the Red Sox had already put up 13 runs.
"Sometimes it's just the luck of the draw," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after Boston's 15-5 win.
"So far, he's showing a lot of toughness," Valentine later added. "And the guy on third base is not a gimme. Infield back, guy on third, early in the game, late in the game, whatever it is, he really bears down and makes his best pitches, it seems, with runners in scoring position."
Doubront said after the game that he was missing his spots for most of the night, which led to some struggles. But he did get out of several jams and limited the damage in his six innings.
"Kind of a slow start," said Doubront afterwards, who also admitted he was affected by the extreme temperature. "I felt down a little bit in the first inning. And the rest of the game I tried to pick it up a little bit more, and be more effective."
By limiting the damage on a night that he clearly didn't have his best stuff, Doubront showed the type of battle that his teammates are now used to seeing every fifth night from him.
"Doubront did a great job," said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "He didn't have his command like he always does. But he fought. He fought his way through it, did a great job and that shows how good of a pitcher he is.
"His makeup, the way he's been throwing the ball, going after hitters with his fastball. He's just a calm kid that goes out there, and, you'd think he's been in the big leagues for 10 years. And he's just starting this year as a starter. So, I mean, he's just a great kid and is doing a great job."

Red Sox-Indians ALDS matchup becoming increasingly likely

Red Sox-Indians ALDS matchup becoming increasingly likely

BOSTON - The Red Sox knew they'd be in the playoffs last weekend when they clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2013.

On Wednesday, they became division champs and knew they'd avoided the dreaded wild-card game.

ANALYSIS: Nick Friar looks at potential Red Sox-Indians matchup

They still don't know their first-round opponent, though it's becoming increasingly likely that it will be the Cleveland Indians.

Here's why: the Red Sox' loss to the Yankees on Thursday night leaves them with a 92-67 record with three games remaining, the second-best mark -- for now -- among the three A.L. division winners.

The Texas Rangers, at 94-65, retain the best record, with the Indians, at 91-67, a half-game behind the Sox.

The team with the best record of the three will enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, and will be matched against the winner of Tuesday's A.L. wild-card matchup.

To finish with the A.L.'s best record and host the wild-card winner, the Red Sox essentially need to sweep the Toronto Blue Jays on the final weekend and hope that the Rangers get swept by Tampa Bay.

That's because a tie between the Red Sox and Rangers in the standings would make the Rangers the top seed by virtue of the second tie-breaker: intra-division play.

(The first tie-breaker is head-to-head play; the Sox and Rangers split the season series, sending them to the second tie-breaker).

In other words, the Rangers have a magic number of one to clinch the best record in the A.L. and gain home-field advantage throughout the postseason. One more Red Sox loss or one more Rangers win would get the Rangers locked into the top spot.

Again, barring a sweep by the Sox and the Rangers getting swept, a matchup in the Division Series with Cleveland seems almost inevitable.

What's not known is where that series will begin, and here's where it gets tricky.

Because the Indians and Detroit Tigers were rained out Thursday, the Tribe will have played only 161 games by the time the regular season ends early Sunday evening.

That could force the Indians and Tigers to play a makeup game on Monday, since the game could have playoff seeding implications for the Indians and Tigers. Detroit is still in the running for the A.L. wild card spot, currently a game-and-a-half behind the Orioles and Jays.

Since the Red Sox won the season series against the Indians 4-2, the Sox can clinch home field by winning two-of-three games from Toronto this weekend.

Should the Sox win two from the Jays, it would wipe out the need for Monday's makeup -- at least as far as the Indians are concerned. It's possible that it would still need to be played to determine the one of the wild card spots.

No matter who wins home field in a likely Red Sox-Indians matchup, the Division Series between the two will start with games next Thursday and Friday. After a travel day, the series would resume Sunday and Monday, Oct. 9-10.

Should the Sox win home field and host the first two games, Game 3 would be played Sunday Oct. 9 in Cleveland -- on the same day and in the same city where Tom Brady will make his return to the Patriots.