Felix Doubront was ultimately selected to the playoff roster to give the Red Sox the most flexibility, manager John Farrell explained.
“We looked at the Felix as [having] the ability to give us multiple innings,” said Farrell. “If we were to get into a situation where it’s a lengthy rain delay and we need multiple innings to start back up. It was more the ability to go multiple innings and a guy who has had a very good year for us.”
Doubront had expressed reservations about pitching in relief. But a series of meetings, the last one coming Tuesday, cured him of that.
“That sit-down with him was critical in terms of the accepting of the role and understanding there was going to be a need for a change in routine,” Farrell said. “What needed to be further clarified is that he can pitch anywhere from one hitter to four innings and to remain open-ended and open-minded and just go pitch to the best of your abilities until we take the ball out of your hand.”
Having Doubront around also enables the Red Sox to use Ryan Dempster in any role and not just long relief.
“When we made the move with [Dempster] to the bullpen, we didn’t see him as just a long guy,” Farrell said. “The ability to come in and get a righthander, he’s also been very good against lefties. His veteran presence. It creates more flexibility with his usage.”
Doubront hasn’t started a game since Sept. 22. But Farrell said he is capable of going 75 pitches.
Matt Thornton, a July trade acquisition, did not have the impact that was expected. He pitched in only 20 games, seven in high-leverage situations.
• Thornton, Ryan Lavarnway, and John McDonald are not on the roster but are staying with the team and can be in uniform. The same is true for injured pitchers Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller.
• The Red Sox see Franklin Morales as their situational lefty. They’d be willing to use him against a lefty hitter with men on base.
• Farrell said the four-day break for the Red Sox has helped Shane Victorino’s sore hand and thumb “calm down a little bit.” The pain has gone. Jacoby Ellsbury has benefitted, too.
“Two very critical guys in our lineup and for sure defensively,” said Farrell. “To have them out there and available at 100 percent, that’s two critical guys.”
• Farrell arrived at 7:45 a.m. for the 3:07 p.m. game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was already in the clubhouse. First playoff game as a manager for Farrell and first as a player for Salty.
• RHP Jeremy Hellickson, not Chris Archer, is lined up as Game 4 starter for Rays.
• Bruins coach Claude Julien sent Farrell a text message wishing him well.
• Some passing rain canceled batting practice on the field. But the game is not expected to be affected. Farrell joked that all the preparation the Sox did for the shadows went for naught.
• There’s a wall in the manager’s office at Fenway Park that has framed photographs of all the managers in team history. It was something Bobby Valentine started, and Farrell kept the photos up there.
A prankster swapped out the photo of Terry Francona and replaced it with clubhouse attendant Pookie Jackson.
“I walked in one day and there it was,” Farrell said. “I almost jumped out of my seat.”