Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/16/14
Los-angeles-dodgers-boston
The Red Sox were in shambles during last week’s mailbag. This time around, things are much more pleasant in Boston. The Red Sox have followed up their 3-9 stretch with a five-game winning streak, which includes a three-game sweep of the Twins in Minnesota. Suddenly, Boston looks like the team that started off the season among the American League’s elite, and that has put a stop to the brief hysteria that was starting to settle in throughout Red Sox Nation. There are still questions, though; there always are. And it just so happens you fired some of those pressing questions in my direction this past week. Let’s take a look, shall we? Are the Red Sox a playoff team? – Kelsey Beauvais Nice. Let’s kick off this mailbag with a question that’s straight and to the point. After all, isn’t a playoff berth — and eventually a World Series title, of course — all that really matters at the end of the day? Well, Kelsey, if you asked me this question on April 1, I would have told you, “no.” (Check out somewhere within the Twitter feed, if you don’t believe me.) I thought the Red Sox would be a lot more competitive than many people expected, but I also thought the American League East was too deep for them to earn a playoff berth. Let’s just say my tune has changed. There were two reasons I thought the Red Sox would at least be competitive: Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. And coincidentally, they’re the biggest reasons I now think the Red Sox are a playoff team. The tandem might not keep up its current pace, but it’s a two-headed monster that’s difficult for any opponent to deal with. If the rest of the rotation can be respectable, there’s no reason the Red Sox can’t be contenders come September and October. I also think that the other teams in the AL East have some issues, which could ultimately help the Sox get into the postseason — whether it be via a divisional crown or a wild card berth. The Yankeees have battled through injuries, but you have to wonder if they’ll eventually falter, especially if the rotation doesn’t stay healthy. They were dealt a blow when Andy Pettitte went on the 15-day disabled list, and while that injury doesn’t appear serious, it really shows just how thin of a tightrope the Yankees are walking. The Orioles’ offense has been potent, but I still think their rotation will lead to their demise. The Rays are dealing with a major issue when it comes to their ace, David Price, who has been placed on the disabled list after an awful start to the year. And the Blue Jays are an all-around train wreck. The Red Sox, obviously, have some issues of their own, but I think they’re much more talented and much deeper than a lot of us gave them credit for before the season. What is the status of Ryan Kalish? With Daniel Nava’s contributions, do they expect Kalish to still contribute with the Red Sox or is he minor-league bound? – Wesley Hoag Ryan Kalish is somewhat of a forgotten character in the Red Sox’ mix right now, which is unfortunate because I’ve always been a fan of Kalish’s game. I’d be very surprised, however, if he makes any major contributions at the big league level this season. Kalish, who had offseason shoulder surgery, has been working down in Fort Myers — both physically and mentally, according to MassLive.com’s Evan Drellich. The hope is that he’ll be able to start swinging soon, and then at that point build up enough strength to start playing in games. All indications are that he’s progressing nicely, but the whole swing thing will be a huge step, as that’s where his injury was detected. Perhaps if all goes well, Kalish can come back and be a nice outfield bench option when the rosters expand in September, but he’s most definitely minor-league bound when he’s first ready for game action. Kalish’s situation doesn’t have any impact whatsoever on Nava, who has been one of the Red Sox’ better players this season. What is your opinion on Major League Baseball switching over to safer, softer baseballs — like children use? It would reduce injuries from players being hit with the ball. This would also make it far safer for spectators and enhance their experience at the ballpark. At the end of the day, it is just a game. No one should have to risk injury when it can be prevented. Looks to me like a no brainer. Player safety “MUST” be made a priority. Sounds like progress to me. –Anthony Somebody get this guy a Shirley Temple. Hey Rick, enjoy your stuff! Do you think it’s time to take Felix Doubront out of the starting rotation and make him the long reliever? Allen Webster needs a shot to start. –John Lee, Colonie, New York Felix Doubront, in my opinion, is one of the most perplexing issues the Red Sox face right now. It’s not often that you see a pitcher’s velocity drop and his swing-and-miss ability essentially evaporate without any physical issues whatsoever, yet that’s the current situation with Doubront. John Farrell has said multiple times that the left-hander checks out fine physically despite a major decline in his overall stuff. Doubront walked a tightrope last season because of his inefficiency and lack of command, but he survived more often than not. This season, that tightrope has become even thinner, and it seems like the Red Sox’ patience has as well. For now, I think the Sox will continue to try and iron out the issues that are plaguing Doubront, who continuously racks up walks and teeters on the edge of disaster. But as I said in last week’s mailbag, I wouldn’t be shocked if Allen Webster ends up in the starting rotation by season’s end. If Webster pitched well in his second major league start on May 8, then we might not even be having this conversation because the job could have been his. Webster’s rough outing essentially bought Doubront more time, and now it’s up to the lefty to show he still belongs in the Red Sox’ rotation. If Doubront doesn’t right his ship, fails to find a rhythm, keeps walking an absurd amount and throws 15 million pitches through four innings each time out, then I agree that the Red Sox absolutely have to consider doing something. The difficult part is figuring out what that “something” is. Doubront is out of options, meaning he’d have to pass through waivers in order to be assigned to the minors, so the long relief route that you suggest isn’t far-fetched. There aren’t many more true long relievers in the game today, but perhaps Doubront could assume some sort of role in the bullpen. Is that ideal? No. But neither is Doubront’s performance thus far. How come in every article — whether it’s written by you or Ian Browne — every time before John Farrell’s name you write “Red Sox manager?” Is this really necessary? Don’t you think everyone knows who John Farrell is by now? –Jefferson, Worcester You win, Jefferson. I’ll stop. How’s Jose Iglesias doing in Triple-A? –Taufiq Ramadhan Short answer: not so hot. Iglesias has struggled at the plate, and he was benched for three games recently for behavioral issues. PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina thinks Iglesias learned from the benching, but we’ll need to see how this whole thing plays out. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

James Harden wants some help in the backcourt

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still: Daughter has complications with transplant

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Falcons waive Shembo over animal cruelty charges

Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Belichick mum on Deflategate in first remarks since discipline

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four former first-round picks playing for their NFL careers

NBA Finals: Cavs-Warriors lacks easy comparison and that's great

10 NFL storylines that headlined the past week

Blackhawks-Ducks Game 7 preview: Key players, prediction

Women’s World Cup power rankings: Which teams have the best shot at hoisting the trophy?

NBA Finals: A series 39 years in the making

WATCH: San Diego State player steals home to seal win

St. Thomas pitcher Ben Ancheff takes internet by storm

WATCH: Josh Hamilton hits first two homers of the season

Did Andrew Bogut take a shot at Mark Jackson?

$70 million Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the NBA title, the parade will be for Oakland

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still's daughter has complications with transplant

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.