SEATTLE -- As the Red Sox get closer to hitting the All-Star break, Felix Doubront continues to look as though he's hit the wall.
Doubront lasted just 4 13 innings Sunday, his second shortest outing of the season. He also issued five walks, a season-high, and hit a batter, highlighting some control issues.
He allowed just three hits and a run while he was on the mound, but the walks contributed to an accelerated pitch count. When he came out of the game, having gotten just 13 outs, he had thrown 103 pitches.
"Just three hits," said Bobby Valentine, "but he had a lot of pitches all around the zone that somehow weren't being swung at. I thought he had pretty good stuff, but he was wound up a little tight today.
"I think he was throwing too many different pitches. He was working on too many pitches, I think."
Doubront professed ignorance when it came to his wildness, insisting that he was "feeling good. But for a moment, I lost my mechanics or my release point on the ball. I don't know what happened. Seriously."
He disagreed with Valentine's contention that he was throwing too many different pitches, maintaining that he was throwing "a lot of fastballs. I just couldn't find a way to throw them in the right spot. A lot of balls, a lot of walks. That happens. Every time out is a different game. I just couldn't throw strikes."
A year ago, thanks to a series of nagging injuries, Doubront pitched just 87 23 innings between three minor league assignments and a brief call-up in September.
This season, after 79 games, he's already at 89 23 innings, leading some to suggest that Doubront is tiring under the bigger workload.
"The good thing is my arm and my body feel good," he said. "I'm just going to keep trying and one day, I'm going to figure everything out. I'm just going to stay on my five-day routine and keep doing what I'm doing."
The Sox are currently going with six starters, and with a day off scheduled for this Thursday, can give starters some extra bounce-back time. The upcoming All-Star break will also serve as an opportunity to re-arrange the rotation for the first series after the break, again affording some extra rest for weary starters.
Since June 8, Doubront is 2-2 in his last five starts with a 5.93 ERA and has pitched past the sixth inning just once.