BOSTON -- All good things must come to an end.
After 11 straight games of Red Sox starting pitchers holding opponents to three runs or less, a streak that matched the club’s longest in the last 98 years (April 12-25, 1988), Felix Doubront struggled on Sunday, going just 3 2/3 innings and allowing four runs on seven hits.
Thanks to the Sox bats, Doubront left with a 5-4 lead, and the Sox held on for a 7-6 victory.
“I have no words,” Doubront said. “For myself, [I’m] moving forward. Moving forward and looking toward the next start. Like I always say, this game is over. This game is the past.”
Doubront cruised through the first three innings, facing one batter over the minimum and allowing only two hits in what seemed to have the makings of another strong outing. Then came the fourth inning -- four runs, five hits, a walk and 40 pitches before manager John Farrell turned things over to Brandon Workman and the bullpen for the rest of the game.
“We’ve had good starting pitching in the first two games of this series,” Farrell said. “Today when Felix ran into a long fourth inning, our bullpen picked him up.”
Doubront pointed to fatigue as the cause of his trouble.
“I was trying to get that out but I got tired,” he said. “Missing my spot, foul balls, swing and a miss, everything that’ll make you scramble.
“Just a lot of things that I don’t remember at all. I don’t want to remember either.”
At 146 2/3 innings and projected to surpass his career high of 161 innings set last year, Doubront maintains that his arm feels great, pointing to his consistent velocity as proof that his stamina is not a concern. Instead, the left-hander remains focused on the next task at hand, something teammates echoed with the reigning American League champion Detroit Tigers coming to Fenway for three starting on Monday.
“We’re always looking forward to a good game,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “We know they’re a good opponent. They beat up on us at their place so we’re hoping we come here and keep playing well at home like we’ve been doing.”
Of course, with Miguel Cabrera and the rest of the league’s top offense as the opponent, success once again will start with the pitchers.
“Anytime you look at a guy like Cabrera or [Prince] Fielder or guys in the middle of that order it’ll be important for us to contain the guys ahead of them, to hopefully do what we can to keep them off base and go out and continue to pitch and pitch the way our starters have,” Farrell said.