Strong start, wrong matchup for Doubront

Strong start, wrong matchup for Doubront
July 24, 2013, 11:45 pm
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BOSTON – Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront had recorded three consecutive victories entering his Wednesday night start against the Rays at Fenway Park. He hadn't lost since June 8 against the Angels.
In his past six starts, spanning 39 1/3 innings, Doubront had not allowed more than three runs – two earned runs -- in any of those outings, posting a 1.83 ERA in that span.
Doubront pitched well against the Rays, working 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts.  But he had the misfortune of matching up against David Price. The Rays lefty handcuffed the Sox offense, pitching a complete game – the third in his last four outings -- needing just 97 pitches, 72 strikes, an impressive 74.2 percent strike rate – down from an eye-popping 82.9 percent after four innings.
Doubront and the Sox fell to Price and the Rays 5-1, cutting Boston's lead in the American League East to just a half-game over Tampa Bay. The Sox lone run came on Mike Napoli’s 14th home run.

Doubront needed 27 pitches to get through the first inning, before settling down the in the second when he needed just six pitches.
Then the Rays sent seven batters to the plate in the third inning, with three scoring.  With one out in the third Desmond Jennings’ liner fell in front of left fielder Jonny Gomes. With Evan Longoria batting, Doubront attempted to pick Jennings off first. Instead, his throw sailed to the fence in front of the Sox dugout as Jennings took second. Longoria’s single put runners at the corners,  and Ben Zobrist loaded the bases reaching on an attempted sacrifice bunt.  Wil Myers’ blooped a single to center, scoring Jennings and Longoria. With Luke Scott batting Zobrist and Myers completed a double-steal before Scott’s sacrifice fly scored Myers.
“I thought Felix threw the ball very good again,” manager John Farrell said. “In that third inning a couple of balls drop in, a sinking liner in front of Gomes, the fisted ball by Myers to give them the first two runs and then they execute the double steal to set up the sac fly. But once again I thought he had very good stuff.
“A little bit of an extended first inning but no damage. And going into the seventh in with three runs allowed, consistent with what he’s been doing for a couple of months for us.”
“I made a mistake with Longoria, on the corner inside I think I left it a little bit on the middle,” Doubront said. “And Myers he hit a pretty good pitch and he put a good swing on it and that blooper.”
In the past Doubront has acknowledged issues with concentration or focus. That was not a problem in this case, Farrell said.
“No, not at all,” Farrell said. “The safety squeeze they ran, we run a similar play and when we defend it in our drill work in spring training. Your instinct is to cut down that run at home plate. Reaction, he threw the ball. Obviously, the runner at third held. So in that situation, that’s not a lack of concentration. That’s more instinctual, and he pulled a pick-off move on the pick attempt. So I thought tonight he was probably as sharp as he’s been and we went up against a darned good pitcher.”
Overall, the Sox lefty was satisfied with his outing.
“Yeah, I feel good,” he said. “I think fastball [was] a little bit off. But everything was working well. And that happened Price threw a good game. That’s baseball. This game is in the past. We got tomorrow.”