Doubront proves himself in season's final start

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Doubront proves himself in season's final start

BOSTON -- Felix Doubront feels he has something to prove. And as the 2012 season nears its end, the 24-year-old left-hander is proving that he didn't need to be shut down early, and that his innings did not need to be limited in just his first full season as a starting pitcher.

On paper, Doubront did not factor into Sunday afternoon's decision at Fenway Park (Junichi Tazawa got the win), but the Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1.

Doubront did, however, have a rock-solid outing, striking out 11 Orioles and allowing only one run in seven innings. He became the youngest Red Sox left-hander to record 11 strikeouts in a game in the DH era.

"Felix was terrific," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "Eleven strikeouts, throwing strikes, competing the whole time."

Doubront took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, where back-to-back hits to lead off that inning put runners at second and third with no outs.

A Manny Machado bloop single into right field scored one run that tied the game at 1-1. But Doubront responded with two strikeouts and a ground out to get out of the jam.

"That really was the key to the game, I thought," said Valentine. "Giving up one run when there's second and third and no outs. It gave us a chance to scratch our way back."

Doubront threw 112 pitches, and when he left the game after seven innings, it remained a 1-1 game. So while Doubront didn't pick up his 12th win of the season, he pitched like someone who deserved it.

He also showed that he didn't need to be shut down early.

"He just wanted to prove that these innings aren't something for us to be concerned with," said Valentine. "He's a good pitcher, and ya know, he had some hurdles to get over. And if he's not pitching, he can't get through those hurdles. And I've seen him get through them and continue to get better."

First Impressions from Boston's 10-3 loss to Texas

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First Impressions from Boston's 10-3 loss to Texas

First impressions of the Red Sox 10-3 loss to Texas:

 

Steven Wright can’t be stellar every night.

Although it’s seemed like it lately, it’s just not possible -- especially with a knuckleball.

He wasn’t even that bad Saturday night. He just didn’t get any help from his defense in the fifth frame.

But there’s no denying he didn’t have his best stuff. But whatever the reason, he couldn’t find consistent command or movement from his knuckler and he gave up some hard hits as a result.

Did he receive a fate worse than he pitched? Yes. But what Boston saw from Wright in his Saturday start is there will be times his go-to pitch is off -- and there’s really no way to work around that.

 

Hanley Ramirez’s “timing issue” seems to be coming around.

Although he hasn’t necessarily caught fire, Ramirez hit another home run -- once again to right field.

He’s shown more patience at the plate, and not trying to pull every ball out of the yard.

Ramirez doesn’t have everything completely figured out, but his homeruns have been plenty valuable at this point.

 

Ian Desmond is no joke.

The newly converted centerfielder is 5-for-10 against Boston pitching this series with a run and two RBI.

The ex-Nationals shortstop has good pop and good speed still. He seems to be a lot more comfortable in his new home after hitting .233 for Washington last year with 19 homeruns -- hitting his 13th Saturday night.

 

For all the criticisms Boston’s bullpen has received, the Rangers’ is definitely worse.

Although there wasn’t the same miraculous comeback witnessed Friday night -- and Boston’s pen wasn’t particularly stellar in the loss -- the Ranger relievers did not look good in the second game of the series.

They put themselves into deep counts right away -- and was lucky Boston’s offense was off.

Boston’s bullpen has its faults -- no question -- but it’s not nearly as bad as the one in Texas.

 

The Red Sox unfortunately have to rely on Clay Buchholz Sunday.

The bullpen is beaten down once again. The righty is still fighting for his job, so this would be the best time for him to pitch competitively into the sixth inning -- and maybe even longer.

Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

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Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

Knuckleballer Steven Wright will try to stay on a roll, as will the Red Sox, as they continue their three-game series tonight (9:20) against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Wright (8-4, American League-leading 2.01 ERA) faces Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.94), in his first start since coming off the 15-day disabled list.

The Red Sox rallied to win the series opener 8-7 with a four-run ninth inning.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Bryce Brentz LF
Christian Vazquez C
---
Steven Wright RHP

RANGERS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Ian Desmond CF
Nomar Mazara LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Prince Fielder DH
Roughned Odor 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Robinson Chirinos C
---
A.J. Griffin RHP
 

Red Sox call up RHP Cuevas, send Marrero to Pawtucket

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Red Sox call up RHP Cuevas, send Marrero to Pawtucket

With the Red Sox bullpen taxed in recent days by pitching 18 1/3 innings the past four games, including a short outing Friday night by starter David Price, right-hander William Cuevas was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and infielder Deven Marrero was sent down.

Cuevas, 25, made one relief appearance for Boston (allowing two runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings in his major league debut April 21) and had been starting at Pawtucket (4-3, 3.30 ERA in 12 starts). He pitched 5 1/3 innings on Sunday. He'll be available out of the bullpen tonight as the Red Sox continue their three-game series in Texas. 

Marrero, 25, appeared in four games and went 1-for-7 in his latest stint in Boston.