Doubront's struggles continue against Mariners


Doubront's struggles continue against Mariners

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.

Cubs reach first World Series since 1945


Cubs reach first World Series since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.