Doubront, Farrell happy with progress on mound

Doubront, Farrell happy with progress on mound
May 17, 2013, 12:15 am
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- He didn't get the win. He didn't get an out in the sixth inning. And he walked a career-high six hitters.
     
Still, Thursday night seemed like a step forward for Felix Doubront.
     
Skipped in his last start in favor of Allen Webster, Doubront responded by allowing just one run over five-plus innings, part of the Red Sox' stirring 4-3 comeback win over the Tampa Rays.
     
"Much improved," declared John Farrell of his starter. "The work that he and Juan (Nieves, pitching coach) have been doing between outings seemed to pay off. He was on the plate with his stuff, all three pitches. I thought he had better conviction to the stuff he threw tonight. His curveball had much better consistency to it. He pitched with a little sense of urgency tonight, which was good to see."
     
"I felt a lot better," agreed Doubront. "I finally figured out my pitches -- my changeup, my curve, I started getting the feeling back. Everything was real good."
     
That might be a bit rosy, considering the walks. But what Doubront did better was limit the damage.
     
In the first, he worked out of a bases-loaded jam. In the third, he stranded runners on first and third.
     
Too often this season, Doubront has given up key hits with two strikes or with two outs.
     
On Thursday night, he was able to put hitters away and get that key third out before an inning got away from him.
 
"I was able to throw that pitch to get the last out," he said. "I've been working on that in the bullpen, trying to make that pitch (and) not throw so many pitches. (I was focused on) just throwing that pitch in the middle and down and make the hitters do something with that pitch."
     
In terms of efficiency, Doubront still has some work to do. He needed 104 pitches (54 strikes) to record just 15 outs and after issuing a leadoff walk in the sixth, the Sox were into their bullpen earlier than they would have liked.
     
"We have to take one step at a time," cautioned Farrell. "Just looking at the stuff objectively, it was much more crisp, even though the walks were there."