BALTIMORE -- Rather than giving John Lackey one last tune-up before the postseason, the Red Sox decided to skip the right-hander on Sunday, the final day of the regular season.
Once his team clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason on Saturday, manager John Farrell huddled with Lackey and they made the decision together that this was the way to go.
No. 3 prospect Allen Webster instead drew the start on a day Farrell was expected to get a lot of relievers some work.
The season has already been a success for Lackey, considering how well he has pitched coming off Tommy John surgery.
"The fact that he's north of 100 innings this year coming off a year in which he didn't pitch, we felt like the extended rest right now would be beneficial for him," said Farrell.
Lackey's 10-13 record was not indicative of the way he pitched. He had a 3.52 ERA while pitching 189 1/3 innings and holding opponents to a .247 average.
"It goes back to the work he did in the offseason," said Farrell. "He set the foundation then with the way he reshaped his body, the way he got himself into condition and the work he's done between starts throughout the year. I don't know that we always look at years of pitchers returning from Tommy John, but this might be one of the more strong ones when you consider all the pitchers that have come back from the surgery.
"He's done a great job. The numbers, the win-loss is not indicative of the way he's pitched. We all recognize that, but I think right now, a well-deserved couple of extra days of rest."
Farrell will announce his American League Division Series rotation in the coming days. There's been considerable speculation that Lackey could start Game 2 at Fenway because of the drastic difference between his numbers at home (6-3, 2.47 ERA) and the road (4-10, 4.48 ERA).
Auditioning for 'pen role, Doubront roughed up
BALTIMORE -- From a pure talent standpoint, Felix Doubront probably has the best stuff of any of the lefties who are vying for a spot on the Red Sox's postseason roster.
However, Doubront admittedly thinks that going to the bullpen after pitching in the rotation would be a challenge. At this point, there's no certainty -- let alone a likelihood -- that Doubront will be on Boston's 25-man roster for the American League Division Series.
In Sunday afternoon's 7-6 loss to the Orioles, the lefty didn't make a convincing case, giving up five hits, five runs and three walks over just 1 1/3 innings.
Doubront was asked point-blank after the game if he felt he could help the team in the postseason.
"As a starter," Doubront said. "As a reliever, I have to be more prepared for that, for those situations. As a starter, I can do everything there and help the team. I think I can do that."
There's no starting openings for the Red Sox, as Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy are likely to pitch in the ALDS. Doubront and Ryan Dempster are the odd men out after pitching in the rotation all year.
However, Dempster has been receptive to the switch and has turned in three scoreless outings over the last week.
Doubront almost sounds like a fish out of water when talking about life as a reliever. The southpaw said he will try to gain more comfort during team workouts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Red Sox open the postseason on Friday at Fenway Park.
"It's not the same, man. It's not the same," Doubront said of relief. "You have to warm up, you have to stretch, you have to warm up quicker, you have to be ready in 10-20 pitches. As a starter, you stretch, run a little bit, long toss. I can do it. I can do it. But today was my first time, you know? I have to practice that more on Tuesday, be more quick and get my arm ready."
Manager John Farrell said he needs to make sure Doubront is mentally ready for the transition of moving from the rotation to the bullpen if he's going to be part of the team's plans in October.
"Felix believes in himself. He only feels like he's worthy of being a starter, which you want out of an individual," Farrell said. "He's had a solid year for us. We want to be sure if he is in the bullpen in the postseason, not only is he buying into the role, but this is about the team at this point, which we try to stress all year long.
"Even more importantly, in the postseason, hey, whatever role you're in, you've got to buy in and contribute however we can to win 11 more games starting Friday."
If Doubront had kept pitching the way he was earlier in the season, he might have had a better shot at landing a spot in the postseason rotation. But for the second year in a row, he was fatigued in the final weeks of the season.
"Well this is his second time, so we've got to look at other things to adjust," said Farrell. "And, to me, that is clearly in the offseason. As much as we talked about what John Lackey did, Felix has got to go through something similar. Not to say a reshaping of the body, but there's got to be a greater foundation laid before Spring Training starts."
On the last day, Pedroia rests
BALTIMORE -- For one of the only times in Dustin Pedroia's career, he didn't protest a day off when his manager suggested one.
The All-Star second baseman played in a career-high 160 games this season, all but one of which were starts. He finished the regular season with a .301 average, 91 runs, 193 hits, 42 doubles, nine homers, 84 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.
He did it while playing the entire season with a UCL tear in his left thumb, sustained on Opening Day.
"That's my job -- be out there and try to impact the game every night," Pedroia said.
With four off-days looming before Game 1 of the American League Division Series, several regulars did start, including Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Quintin Berry, vying for a bench role in October, helped his cause with a two-run home run in the second inning.