Frustration gets better of Doubront

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Frustration gets better of Doubront

BOSTON The frustration was evident on Felix Doubronts face and in his body language, both during the game, and after.

I got a little bit frustrated for those calls, and then it was a couple mistakes after that, Doubront said.

Those couple mistakes erased a four-run lead in the fifth inning, leading to the Red Sox third consecutive loss, second straight to the Twins, 6-5 in 10 innings Friday night at Fenway Park.

Leading 5-1 going into the fifth, Doubront gave up a lead-off single to No. 9 hitter, Jamey Carroll, who was erased on Denard Spans fielders choice. A single by Ben Revere and a walk to Joe Mauer loaded the bases. A five-pitch walk to Josh Willingham pushed in Span for one run. And a two-run single by Justin Morneau scored Revere and Mauer. Danny Valencias sacrifice fly to right scored Willingham, tying the score, 5-5.

Doubront lasted just five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and four walks with two strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches, 60 strikes. He was not involved in the decision, and his ERA went from 4.37 to 4.56.

Doubront had runners on base in each of his five innings. He gave up one run in the second, but it was the fifth that was his undoing. On several pitches, he seemed to take exception to home plate umpire Mark Wegners calls.

When I dont get those calls, I started throwing the ball, committing mistakes, leaving the ball up in the zone, and down, I was a little bit, not right, he said.

Dustin Pedroia visited him on the mound for an animated conversation.

He said stay calm because I thought that pitch was close for Wegner to call it a strike, Doubront said. I just got a little bit frustrated.

It was a roaming strike zone tonight, said manager Bobby Valentine. But his ball was really moving. Catcher Kelly Shoppach said that his ball was moving both ways. It was tough to call. It kept running and darting. I couldnt see it from my perspective.

That fifth inning, that bloop over third base by Revere I think upset him a little, and the two-strike hit upset him. A couple of pitches upset him. He had Morneau with two strikes and he hit it off the end of the bat. He just missed making that pitch to get him out of the inning which hes been making all year.

Doubront had become the de facto stopper on the staff the season, going 5-1 with a 3.55 ERA in nine starts after a Sox loss. The team had been 7-2 in those games, entering Friday night. After losing the previous two games, the Sox could have used a stopper for this one.

Doubront has already logged 118 13 innings this season, well above the 87 23 he threw last season. But he said fatigue is not an issue.

No, no, no, not at all, he said. I feel pretty good, my arm feels good, not tired."

Doubront is tied with Jon Lester for the staff lead in quality starts, with 11. He did not add to that number against the Twins Friday.

Thats baseball, man, he said. You have to do better than that, and just tomorrow is another day. Just keep going.

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.

Massarotti: '0% chance Ortiz comes out of retirement'

Massarotti: '0% chance Ortiz comes out of retirement'

Tony Massarotti in the Cumberland Farms lounge believes there is 0% chance David Ortiz comes out of retirement.