Doubront latest Sox starter to shine

Doubront latest Sox starter to shine
July 6, 2013, 2:30 am
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ANAHIEM, Calif. -- As might be expected from a team which has won five in a row and nine of its last 10, strong starting pitching has been carrying the Red Sox.    

On Friday night, it was Felix Doubront's turn.    

Doubront pitched into the seventh inning for the third time in the last four outings, limiting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to just two runs in a 6-2 victory.    

It marked the sixth straight game in which the Boston starting pitcher has allowed two runs or fewer.    

In that six game stretch, Red Sox starters have combined for a 2.29 ERA.    

For the 10th straight start, Doubront has given up three earned runs or fewer.   

"He was outstanding tonight,'' marveled John Farrell of Doubront. "Once again, he worked deep into the ballgame. I think this is now about 10 straight starts for him where he's not only kept us in the ballgame but put us in position to win. He had good stuff. He was on the plate with his fastball much more consistently tonight and had a very good changeup.    

"It was a solid performance for Felix.''    

As recently as mid-may, Doubront was inconsistent enough that the Sox had miss a start so as to get him time to work with pitching coach Juan Nieves on the side.    

Nieves preached the importance of working at a quicker pace while altering his between-start preparation. The results speak for themselves.    

"It certain paid off,'' said Farrell. "We've seen a little bit better power and more swing-and-miss ability with his fastball. With his assortment of pitches, he's got the ability to keep guys off strike. He's kind of  flown under the radar, given the years (enjoyed) by other guys.''    

Doubront said the key to his current streak is his health.    

"My arm feels good now,'' he said. "Working with Juan, too, and the (side sessions) have helped me keep the pace and learn more. Now, I'm able to pitch at my pace. I'm trying to keep that and help the team win.''    

The lefty found himself in a jam in the third inning when he allowed a leadoff triple to J.B. Shuck and a walk to Mike Trout, giving the Angels baserunners on the corners with no out.    

But Doubront got Albert Pujols to hit into a double-play as Shuck scored and retired Mark Trumbo on a groundout, limiting the damage to a single run.    

"I wasn't worried about the man on third,'' said Doubront. "I was looking for a double play. Throwing that pitch to get the ground ball, that was kind of a challenge inning and I did it.''    

His changeup is as good as it's been all year, giving him one more weapon with which to work.    

"It's working great,'' he said. "All of my pitches, they're pretty good now.''    

After the walk to Trout, Doubront allowed just two of the final 15 hitters he faced to reach base -- Howie Kendrick homered to lead off the fourth and Alberto Callaspo doubled with one out in the seventh.    

Of his five strikeouts, four came in the last 2 2/3 innings he worked.    

"By the seventh,'' he said, "I was a little bit tired, but I was on a good pace for that last out. But the manager took over and (Craig) Breslow and the bullpen guys did a great job.''