Doubront insists fatigue not an issue

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Doubront insists fatigue not an issue

BOSTON Whatever his troubles have been recently, Felix Doubront insisted Saturday afternoon they are not because of fatigue.

No. Not at all, Doubront said. I think you saw what affects me now is confidence, something like that. Its not because Im tired. Its not tired. I feel good. My body feels good.

After Fridays loss, manager Bobby Valentine said the possibility of shutting down or resting Doubront would be discussed. Saturday afternoon, Valentine said that discussion had not taken place.

It would make sense if Doubront, who is 10-8, feels some fatigue at this point in the season. The left-hander has made 25 starts, spanning 134 23 innings this season, a drastic increase more than 50 percent -- over the 87 23 he threw last season.

Youd have to consider it but I know if he comes into next season and he gets to this high-water mark and everyone starts thinking about shutting him down again, its probably best if he feels good, to let that innings-pitched bar be as high as possible so he could extend it, Valentine said. As long as hes not going to be injured. You take that from him and the medical room and well see.

Earlier in the season, Doubront, who is in his first full big league season, was one of the more reliable and consistent pitchers in the Red Sox rotation. But, he has struggled mightily in his recent outings. He has said confidence has become an issue for him, which could be affected by his recent outings.

He took the loss Friday, falling to 10-8, as his ERA climbed to 5.21. He went four innings (plus one batter in the fifth), giving up five runs on six hits, including two home runs, and two walks with four strikeouts. It marked the fifth consecutive start, and sixth in his last seven, that Doubront has not been able to go more than five innings. He is 0-3 with a 9.70 ERA in that stretch. The last time he went longer was six innings on July 29 at Yankee Stadium. He has not won since July 18, seven starts ago.

He has also said concentration has become an issue.

Yeah. Sometimes I try to be too much perfect, Doubront said. Its one thing I can't control right now. I just want to get the hitter out and throw as many pitches as I can and they start fouling off thats the only thing I have to control: finish the hitter in three or four pitches. Im throwing too many pitches to get one hitter out.

One of the issues could be strikeouts. Doubront has a 9.1 strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio. If he had enough innings to qualify, that number would put him fifth in the American League, behind Justin Verlanders 9.21. Is he trying too hard to get strikeouts, rather than just getting outs?

Sometimes thats a mental situation, he said. Thats a pitching mentality. You want to strike out a guy, get him out on one or two pitches. Its not working for me.

Home runs have also become an issue. In 25 starts has given up 22 home runs, including two on Friday.

Doubront is planning to make his next start, planning to do the same things he usually does before then. And hes not planning to be shut down.

When I feel tired Im going to let them know, he said. But Im not. Im just going to keep pitching, and like I said, figure it out, learn how to pitch, and thats it.

Drellich: Sale may be Red Sox' most electrifying pitcher since Pedro

Drellich: Sale may be Red Sox' most electrifying pitcher since Pedro

The newest lefty ace can succeed where David Price did not.

Chris Sale might be the most electrifying pitcher the Red Sox have had since Pedro Martinez.

Josh Beckett had his moments. Jon Lester was steadily excellent.

But the stuff Sale brings is a step above.

A spaghetti-limbed motion and a fast pace. The ability to throw any pitch in any count, something said of many pitchers, but noted here without exaggeration. A delivery that disguises each pitch as another until there’s no time to react.

MORE ON CHRIS SALE

There's been a lot of talk about how competitive Sale is. That's great.

Let's acknowledge how filthy he is before going crazy about the intangibles. He carves hitters better than he does jerseys.

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has made some questionable moves, but he deserves some optimism here. Some early praise, even -- no matter how well Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, the best prospects he gave the White Sox for Sale, are faring this spring.

Where Dombrowski failed with Price thus far, he may succeed immediately with Sale.

Yes, Sale's 10-strikeout performance against the Yankees on Tuesday night was just a spring training game. But he was dominant to the point that a Grapefruit League game was actually made interesting.

Must-watch, even.

“You guys saw,” Sale told reporters in Florida. “Just felt good.”

All three pitches were working for Sale, the fastball, slider and changeup, and the variants thereof.

“I've been working on my changeup a little bit more the last couple of outings,” Sale said. “My last time out it wasn't great, but just working on it in between starts, just throwing it on the flat ground, it's a pitch that doesn't take a whole lot of stress on your arm. So even when you're just playing catch, you can flip it around, work on grips, things like that.

"As far as my slider, I feel good about it. . . . Obviously when I'm throwing harder, I think it's a little bit flatter. When I take some off of it, not only do I have a little bit more control, but I think it has a little bit more depth. Plus, it kind of creates another pitch in there. It's like an in-between fastball-changeup type of thing. Anything to give them a different look or try to throw them off. That’s kind of the name of pitching."

American League Rookie of the Year runner-up Gary Sanchez was miles in front of the 2-and-2 changeup he swung over in the first inning. Matt Holliday was frozen by a slider at the belt on the inner half.

Chris Carter, he of 40-home run power, was beat by a 2-and-2 fastball an inning later, clearly thinking off speed and unable to decipher just what was coming in time.

Aaron Hicks tried to golf an 0-and-2 slider by flinging his bat into the stands, somewhere behind the third-base dugout.

That’s just the first two innings.

"He added his third pitch more this evening than five days ago, when it was more fastball-changeup," manager John Farrell said. "He had his breaking ball to both sides of the plate, and got underneath to some right-handed swings. And any time he needs to, he's got such good feel for the changeup to get him back in counts to give him a different look. He was impressive."

Opening Day at Fenway Park will be exciting. But Game No. 2, when Sale is to make his Sox debut, should bring the most intrigue.

Chris Sale dominant again in Red Sox' win vs. Yankees

Chris Sale dominant again in Red Sox' win vs. Yankees

By Pat Bradley, CSN Staff

Chris Sale was treating this like a regular season game, and delivered an excellent, midseason performance.

The Boston Red Sox got a taste Tuesday of the star pitcher they acquired last offseason, when Sale dominated the New York Yankees in a 4-2 spring training road win in Tampa, Florida.

Sale, who entered the game having thrown 63 of his 68 spring pitches for strikes (92%), continued to show off his incredible command, throwing 58 of his 86 pitches for strikes (67%) in the victory.

The 27-year-old struck out five of the first six Yankees he faced, and finished with an even 10 strikeouts on the night. He’s now struck out 20 batters to just one walk this spring.

"Obviously, anybody who knows anything about sports knows about Boston and New York," Sale said, via The Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Coming in here, playing against the Yankees, playing at their park in a night game, it gives it more of a regular-season feel. That's what we're here for. Anytime you can get that much closer to a regular-season game, the better off we're going to be."

His single blemish came on a 2-2 pitch to Yankees designated hitter and noted masher Matt Holliday, who sent the ball sailing to the opposite field for a two-run home run that at the time tied the score at 2.

Sale quickly regrouped, lining out Chris Carter to left field on his very next pitch to end his outing. His final line: two runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts and a hit batsman in six innings on 86 pitches.

That’s quite a debut to the rivalry, and something the Red Sox are well aware could become a regular thing.

“I don't want to say tonight is the norm,” began Red Sox manager John Farrell, via The Providence Journal, “but certainly he is very capable of doing that every time he walks to the mound.”

Sale wasn’t the only one strutting his stuff on Tuesday, though. Youngsters Marco Hernandez and Sam Travis continued to hit and were pivotal parts of a Red Sox offense that pounded out 13 hits.

After Mike Miller opened the scoring with a solo homer for Boston in the third inning, Travis kept things rolling a few batters later when his base hit scored Hernandez.

Travis was back at it again in the seventh inning, when his groundout scored Heiker Meneses for what proved to be the game-winning run.

Hernandez and Travis each finished 2-for-4, with Hernandez tripling (his fifth of the spring) and scoring a run and Travis driving in two runs of his own. They raised their spring averages to .422 and .351, respectively.

Every member of the starting lineup -- which did not feature regulars Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval or Xander Bogaerts -- recorded at least one hit, save for Jackie Bradley Jr., who went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts out of the cleanup spot.

Boston is back in action Thursday with a 1:05 p.m. start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.