Doubront sharp in Red Sox' 1-0 win over Yankees

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Doubront sharp in Red Sox' 1-0 win over Yankees

TAMPA, Fla. With Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine still trying to figure out who will be his fifth starter, Felix Doubront may be giving him a few things to think about.

The left-hander, who was not involved in the decision as the Sox beat the Yankees, 1-0, threw four scoreless innings Tuesday night, allowing two hits and a walk with three strikeouts and a balk against a fairly representative Yankees starting lineup. He struggled some in the first inning, when he faced five batters Brett Gardner, Russell Martin, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Raul Ibanez throwing 23 pitches. He gave up a one-out single to Martin, then walked A-Rod, and balked with Teixeira at the plate. But he got Teixeira and Ibanez on groundouts. He then faced the minimum number of batters in his next three innings.

I thought Felix was outstanding, Valentine said. Thought he had really good control of his changeup, which is a devastating pitch for him. Good control and command of his fastball ... His composure was good. He pitched four good innings.

I think its great for him to face that kind of lineup. Competition is always tough at this level regardless if the guys a superstar or not. But to see if he gets a little more excited because its Alex Rodriguez or Teixeira, its good to see.

Doubront, who joined the Sox as an amateur free agent in 2005, has appeared in 23 games for the Sox over the two seasons. But he was slowed by a variety of injuries last season.

If this outing was any indication, he could offer the Sox more this season.

Yeah, I feel very good about today, he said. And I showed what I got. I showed Valentine and the pitching coach Bob McClure that I got something.

Doubront settled in after the first inning.

Everything got better, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Fastball location got better. Changeup was really good to left-hand hitters that most lefties cant do that. He was doing a great job with that curveball for a strike. Sinker was working well. So his stuff was definitely on tonight.

Doubront impressed other observers as well.

He threw very well, said one scout in attendance. Plus fastball and also plus curveball. Put him in the fifth spot in the rotation.

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.