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.