BOSTON - Last weekend, Felix Doubront pitched into the seventh inning and limited a tough Orioles lineup to just two runs.
On Thursday, it was a much different story. For the second time in five starts this season, Doubront failed to get past the third inning, racked for seven runs on six hits with two wild pitches and two walks, en route to a nasty 14-5 loss to the New York Yankees.
Doubront has been completely unpredictable, with the Sox never knowing whether he's going to dominate, as he can at times, or be chased from the game early.
"It was a bad night,'' acknowledged Doubront. "I couldn't get my job done. It was probably a loss of concentration. It was terrible.''
It was bad from the beginning for the lefty, who gave up a run after an error by Xander Bogaerts and a two-out double from Alfonso Soriano.
It was worse in the second with two walks and two wild pitches, leading to another three runs. By the third, a leadoff homer given up to Mark Teixeira, three stolen bases and his own fielding error helped get Doubront out of the game.
"Spotting the opponent a number of runs to get behind early,'' sighed John Farrell, "Felix was erratic with his command. As we've seen a number of times, by the time he gets into the rhythm and the flow of the game, it's been a couple of innings. That's not necessarily uncommon for a pitcher.''
Worse, Doubront compounded things by seemingly forgetting about baserunners, who got enormous jumps and stole bases without throws.
"To me, that kind of shows the game sped up on him in that situation,'' said Farrell. "Anytime you see that being exploited, there's focus being given to execute a pitch solely and the awareness of controlling the running game gets left behind and they were able to exploit that.''
On Wednesday, the Sox got a great start from John Lackey to help set the tone for a complete team win. But on Thursday, the team appeared to take its cues from Doubront's rocky start.
"We've got to do a better job (with out starting pitching) than we did tonight,'' said catcher David Ross succinctly. "It all begins with starting pitching. Starting pitching's the key. You've got to have guys out there throwing strikes, getting ahead of hitters, putting the other team on their heels. It starts and ends with starting pitching.
"We didn't have a good secondary pitch today. You've got to give (the Yankees) some credit, but the ball was up a little bit early on.
Couldn't get the breaking pitches over, changeup was non-existent. That's a bad (formula) when you're talking about a lineup as deep as theirs is.''