Doubront pitching strong into All-Star break

Doubront pitching strong into All-Star break
July 11, 2013, 9:00 am
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SEATTLE - Most major leaguers can't wait for the All-Star break to arrive -- a time to relax and recharge the batteries before the second half of a long season.

Not Felix Doubront, however. He's pitching so well, he'd just as soon keep going.

"I'm a little scared (of the time off),'' joked Doubront. "I don't want to think about it.''

For the fifth straight start, Doubront allowed the opposition two runs or fewer Wednesday night, limiting the Seattle Mariners to a single run over seven innings as the Red Sox bashed their way to an 11-4 victory.

Over his last 11 starts, Doubront has allowed three runs or fewer, with quality starts in three of his last four.

"He continues on a very strong roll,'' said John Farrell. "Over the last three or four (starts), the overall command continues to remain consistent, continues to remain sharp.''

Doubront got some early runs to work with as the Sox scored twice in the second on a pair of sacrifice flies and twice more in the third on David Ortiz's two-run homer.

In the meantime, Doubront carved up the Mariners lineup, retiring the side in order in the first while allowing just three baserunners through the first four innings.

"Those inconsistencies in the first few innings are becoming less (common),'' said Farrell. "I think it just speaks to the overall work and routine and the preparation that he's going through that allows him to have that feel once the games begins. And he continued to put up zeroes after we scored runs and that kept the momentum on our side.''

It helped, too, that Doubront was facing a notoriously aggressive team, which enabled him to get early swings and also kept his pitch count to a more manageable. Just for good measure, Doubront mixed in a strong changeup in some fastball counts to keep the Seattle hitters further off-balance.

"He's made a lot of adjustments,'' said an admiring Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "He's been coming on strong early and staying pretty consistent. There's been too many times where he's good a few innings and then falls off, then comes back. I think that was more early in the season when he getting used to things. He's made some adjustments mechanically and he's really been attacking the zone.''

Since he's become more efficient, Doubront has also been able to go deeper into games. Wednesday was the third straight start -- and fourth in the last five -- that he worked into at least the seventh inning.

Doubront worked with pitching coach Juan Nieves in mid-may on his delivery and to quicken his tempo. Those adjustments are now coming more naturally to him, without having to give them much thought.

"I'm having fun out there,'' said Doubront, "and just trying to get the opportunity for the team to win the game. The feel for my fastball and all of my pitches are getting better and I'm better every outing.''

So much so that he would rather keep pitching.